NASA’s subvocal speech system

May 14th, 2005 at 11:29 am

NASA’s subvocal speech system: “NASA sub-vocal

A bunch of scientists at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California are working on a way for people to talk without
making a sound or opening their mouths (we know you’re secretly going to miss all those people chattering away on their
cellies during movies and meals). Basically it’s a new subvocal speech system that uses sensors attached to the neck
that measure nerve signals used to control your vocal chords and other muscles used for speech. The sensors pick up the
activity of neurons which fire whether or not you’re actually verbalizing something, so essentially you can just think
what you want to say and the system will translate that into words. It’s all in the early prototype stages—so far the
system can only recognize about twenty words, and is just now being taught how to suss out vowels and consonants—but
they’re already figuring out how to get the technology onto cellphones and into firefighter gear and have successfully
tested with a person who lost the use of their larynx. So how long until someone builds a shotgun sensor that can read
your thoughts from 50 feet away?