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
Anti-aging drugs are being tested as a way to treat covid
Drugs that rejuvenate our immune systems and make us biologically younger could help protect us from the disease’s worst effects.
These materials were meant to revolutionize the solar industry. Why hasn’t it happened?
Perovskites are promising, but real-world conditions have held them back.
The baby formula shortage has birthed a shady online marketplace
Desperate parents just want to feed their babies. They’re having to contend with misinformation, price gouging, and scams along the way.
I tried to buy an Olive Garden NFT. All I got was heartburn.
Our newest issue spells out what you need to know about the dizzying world of digital money.
Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review
Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.