Philip Braunisch was working on his Ph.D in statistics at Purdue University. The aim of his research was to apply recent advances in Machine Learning to create a system for visualizing speech on a computer screen in a way that makes it easy to understand what is being said just by looking at the visualization, thus letting deaf people understand spoken language. Such a system for visualization could be put on a handheld device to be carried by the deaf person in order to let him live just like anyone else. If designed correctly, such a system would also help the deaf person to learn to speak himself since he can compare the visualization of his own speech with that of others, and thus learn by imitation, without the need for expensive and tedious speech tutoring.
While working on his degree, Philip taught several undergraduate courses in mathematics, went for exchange to the National University of Singapore and studied one semester of chinese at Tsinghua University, People’s Republic of China. Philip, was fluent in Swedish, German, English, French and Chinese and visited over 50 countries. He loved to learn languages and to travel. Before commencing his Ph.D studies, Philip made a six-month, self-organized trip to West and Central Africa in order to learn french and to try to find out why this continent is so poor and what he could have done to help.