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Thursday, March 20, 2008

BioTech Speechless Cell Conversations For Disabled

A new device translates thoughts into speech so that you can have a cell-phone conversation without uttering a word ideal for the disabled that have no vocal capability.

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

No need for concern: 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 you must specifically think about voicing words the collar then wirelessly transmits them to a computer, which translates them into speech. At the moment, the device has a limited vocabulary about 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, Michael Callahan during 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.