Ambient Corporation has demonstrated a “voiceless” phone call. The call was made using a neckband called Audeo, which translates thoughts into speech by intercepting nerve signals. Although the device’s recognition abilities are currently limited to 150 words, is the company predicts it will be fully functional by the end of the year. Possible applications range from helping the disabled to performing discreet phone calls in public places.
In a recent conference held by microchip manufacturer Texas Instruments, the co-founder of Ambient Corporation, Michael Callahan, demonstrated the Audeo’s abilities. It seems that after careful training, a person can send nerve signals to his vocal cords, signals which can be ‘picked up’ by the Audeo and relayed wirelessly to a computer. The signals are converted into words, which are spoken by a computerized voice.
Users that might worry about the system voicing inner thoughts can relax. Callahan says that the production of nerve signals for the Audeo requires “a level above thinking”, meaning a conscious effort must be taken. A user must think specifically about voicing his words, or the Audeo will not intercept the signals. The new device has previously been used by handicapped people who were able to control wheelchairs using their thoughts.