This is so cool, itâ€™s almost scary. Ambient Corp. has developed and recently unveiled a neckband which translates thoughts about speech into computer-generated speech itself. It was demonstrated at a recent conference hosted by Texas Instruments, a manufacturer of microchips and the optical semiconductors used in DLP technology.
The neckband detects nerve signals that indicate what youâ€™re thinking about saying. These signals are relayed wirelessly to a computer that recognizes and translates them into words or phrases. The neckband, called the Audeo, doesnâ€™t actually read you mind, however.
You have to think about speaking, as the Audeo requires a level of concentration (and training) above regular thought. While currently the Audeo it can only recognize about 150 words or phrases, a more loquacious version is due to be released by Ambient late this year. Ambient Corp. likens the device to the early days of voice-recognition software.
The Audeo recognizes whole words or phrases. The soon-to-be released version is designed to translate the nerve signal signatures for whole phonemes, or the basic parts of speech that make up a word. This system will run a bit slower, but is designed to allow the user to communicate whatever they want.
One last (really cool) thing about Audeo: It recognizes the difference between when you wish to speak silently, and when you wish to speak out loud. Laymanâ€™s terms: The Audeo can hold a separate conversation to the one youâ€™re holding out loudâ€¦providing youâ€™ve got the mental capacity to talk two things at once.
This is more than just some more space-age gadgetry. It was developed to aid people who have lost the ability to speak due to neurological diseases such as ALS (Motor Neurone Disease). Ambient has already developed similar technology that allows wheelchair-bound people to move their chairs using only their minds.