Select your localized edition:

Close ×

More Ways to Connect

Discover one of our 28 local entrepreneurial communities »

Be the first to know as we launch in new countries and markets around the globe.

Interested in bringing MIT Technology Review to your local market?

MIT Technology ReviewMIT Technology Review - logo

 

Unsupported browser: Your browser does not meet modern web standards. See how it scores »

{ action.text }

Ambient Corporation, a company based in Champaign, IL, that develops communications technologies for people with speaking disabilities, is calling its latest system “voiceless communication” with good reason. The company has engineered a neckband that translates a wearer’s thoughts into speech so that, without saying a word, he or she can have a cell-phone conversation or query search engines in public.

Don’t fret: the device, called Audeo, can’t read minds, so it won’t capture your secret thoughts. It picks up the neurological signals from the brain that are being sent to the vocal cords–a person must specifically think about voicing words–and then wirelessly transmits them to a computer, which translates them into synthesized speech. At the moment, the device has a limited vocabulary: 150 words and phrases.

The video below shows Michael Callahan, a cofounder of Ambient and a developer of the device, demonstrating the technology at the Texas Instruments Developers Conference, which was held in Dallas from March 3 through 5. In his speech, he says that by the end of the year, the device will be ready for use by people with Lou Gehrig’s disease, a progressive neurodegenerative disease that can cause sufferers to become completely paralyzed. He also says that in the future, if a person is walking down the street thinking about where a bus station is located, the device will automatically wirelessly query a search engine to find one.

Credit: Texas Instruments

1 comment. Share your thoughts »

Tagged: Biomedicine, communications, neurology, speech software

Reprints and Permissions | Send feedback to the editor

From the Archives

Close

Introducing MIT Technology Review Insider.

Already a Magazine subscriber?

You're automatically an Insider. It's easy to activate or upgrade your account.

Activate Your Account

Become an Insider

It's the new way to subscribe. Get even more of the tech news, research, and discoveries you crave.

Sign Up

Learn More

Find out why MIT Technology Review Insider is for you and explore your options.

Show Me