Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have created a headset device that reads ‘subvocalisation by measuring neuromuscular signals’ and responds to what the users are saying in their heads. In layman’s terms, that means they’ve created a device which can essentially take the words right out of your mouth.

MIT's AlterEgo Device Transcribes the Words in Your Head

It’s called the AlterEgo and it looks a lot like an old school white Bluetooth headset. The gadget picks up signals by using electrodes when users verbalise internally – or speak in your head. It then relays responses to the requests as well as responds to questions using vibrations on your inner ear to distinguish words.

The AlterEgo is a computing system as well as a wearable device. Electrodes in the device pick up neuromuscular signals in the jaw and face that are triggered by internal speaking. They are undetectable to the human eye but the AlterEgo has been trained to correlate particular signals with particular words.

The device also includes a pair of bone-conduction headphones, which transmit vibrations through the bones of the face to the inner ear. Because they don’t obstruct the ear canal, the headphones enable the system to give information without interrupting conversation or getting in the way of the user’s auditory experience.

Essentially this means the device can answer questions that the user asks. In one of the researchers’ experiments, for example, subjects used the system to silently report opponents’ moves in a chess game and just as silently received computer-recommended responses.

The MIT AlterEgo is only in the early stages of development but they’ve already had an average transcription accuracy of about 92%. The possible uses are endless with special ops and people with speech disabilities the obvious examples. Head over to the MIT Website to read more.


In other futuristic news, Orion Span have just unveiled plans for the Aurora Station, a space hotel with an ambitious opening date of 2022.



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