There are constant advances being made in various aspects of technology and things that once seemed like science-fiction are becoming a reality. It seems like almost anything is possible at the moment and as soon as people start thinking of things that would simplify their life, there is a technology company out there hot on the wheels of the latest trends who are ready to produce such an item. The latest bizarre innovation is a gadget that can transform your thoughts into words without the necessity for you to speak.
If you enjoy voice-to-text but find this technology a little too public, then this new device could be the perfect gadget for you. Its creators presented it for the first time at the International Conference for User Interfaces in Tokyo in March.
The creators of this gadget are researchers at MIT Media Lab. The device they have created looks remarkably like a squid crawling over your face that is attached to a mask. It is certainly not the most attractive piece of wearable technology.
At this point, you are probably wondering how on earth a gadget can transform your thoughts into words without you speaking. The answer is surprisingly simple. When you think of words, they are transmitted to your mouth via signals, even before you speak. When these signals arrive silently at the muscles in your mouth, it is possible for a highly sensitive computer to pick up on those signals.
The device has been called the AlterEgo by the researchers. It uses seven electrodes that pick up signals from their positions around the mouth. These electrodes pick up data that then goes through several processes before it is wirelessly transmitted to a device nearby that is awaiting instruction. An interesting feature of this device that allows the devices to respond is the bone-conduction headphones.
During the creation of this device, the scientists have tested out the prototype on people. This allowed them to train the gadget to recognize which data corresponded with which commands. The three commands that were their initial focus were call, add, and reply. They later tested the prototype on more people to assess its accuracy. Although the initial results of the testing were promising, the scientists involved have said it is still a long way from being ready for mass production.
At the moment, the closest systems to the device they have created are Alexa and Siri. However, these only respond to your normal speech rather than messages to muscles prior to the onset of speech. Therefore, this new gadget is a significant advancement in this sector of technology.
Surprisingly, this is not the first time that scientists have attempted to create a gadget that can transmit thoughts into words prior to speaking. Previous attempts have been far more invasive as they have relied on the implantation of a device into the brain as they have depended on brain signals.
According to the researchers, AlterEgo has several advantages over former attempts at creating such a device. First, it is less invasive than previous ideas. Second, it has a 92 percent accuracy levelThird, it is a portable device. Finally, it can’t read your private thought like the direct brain reading devices; it simply picks up on the signals to your mouth.
This device has the potential to become useful in a variety of situations. For example, it would allow you to control different functions on a smartphone, such as texting a friend or turning down the music. It could also be used as a way of operating smart home devices without the necessity to speak.
One of the greatest potential benefits of AlterEgo is that it could be used by people with a disability to operate many smart devices that they may otherwise find challenging to use. It could be particularly useful to those who have a disability that impairs their speech making speech-operated devices tricky.
Despite the advantages, there are still some problems with using AlterEgo. The first of these is that you cannot use it if the electrodes shift. It is hardly a comfortable or attractive device to wear while hanging out with friends. There is also the potential issue of crossed signals between devices. These are just two of the issues that researchers are trying to resolve before the device becomes available to the public.