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Dr. John Bryson Eulenberg
25 April 1943 (Easter Sunday), Chicago, Illinois

This page is just a little different, a little bit of information about an amazing man who has bought 'MUSIC' and happines to thousands. Not in the way as others on these pages, but as a pioneer in the making of talking and singing computer systems for people who cannot speak or who are blind. Back in 1975, he made Stevie Wonder's first talking computer and Stevie's first singing computer. Nowadays, as well as his amazing work, he also he writes songs in collaboration with Joan Gochberg.


During the last 30 years, John Eulenberg has literally given voice to hundreds of people. He graduated from ETHS in 1960, and earned an undergraduate degree from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a master's degree from Harvard, and a doctorate from the University of California-San Diego. Fluent in 12 languages, including Arabic, Hebrew and Hausa (a West African language), he holds academic appointments at Michigan State University in the departments of Audiology and Speech Sciences, Telecommunication, Linguistics, and the African Studies Center.

But it is as director of MSU's Artificial Language Laboratory, where he has done pioneering research in "talking computers," that he has truly helped mankind. Eulenberg has developed a variety of computer-assisted devices that allow individuals with cerebral palsy or A.L.S., for example, to speak, write, sing, compose, and perform music. The lab has tailored input devices to fit the needs of individual users: voice computers can be run by eye movements, foot taps, and finger movements, for example. Eulenberg and his associates created blind singer Stevie Wonder's first talking computer.

Eulenberg's laboratory has been the subject of several television shows, including "Finding a Voice," a Nova documentary on PBS, and "A Gift for Sevina," a documentary that featured a nine-year-old girl "speaking" her first words on an augmentive communication device. This program won a Michigan Emmy Award.

"The sweetest moments are when I can experience the human spirit triumph over barriers that were thought to insuperable," Eulenberg said recently. Three examples of people he has helped best illuminate this: a mother, whose speech is severely limited by cerebral palsy, can now sing a lullaby to her newborn baby using a wheelchair-mounted computer she has programmed to sing the tune; a blind, non-speaking girl was able to chant in Hebrew from the Torah at her bat mitzvah using wheelchair-portable communication to access the ancient syllables; and a young man robbed of speech by a car accident was able to tell his mother he loves her after almost two years of silence.

In April 2001 a joint project between Eulenberg's lab and the MSU School of Music was given the Computerworld Smithsonian Award, considered the most prestigious awards program in the information technology industry. The project, which enables persons with severe physical disabilities to express themselves in instrumental music and singing, has became part of the Permanent Research Collection on Information Technology at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History. (Taken from ETHS Archives)

John Eulenberg

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