Shows: 06.23.08

Monday mornings I'm on the air sharing more stories about how people are living better through computers. I'll tuck field notes from those shows right here. You'll also be able to dig into the archives to explore previous shows as I determine how best to share some of the highlights of the past 8 year's worth of adventures.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Technology that Reads Your Mind

On today's show I talked about an emerging technology called The Audeo which creates an a human-computer interface for communication without the need of physical motor control or speech production:

"Using signal processing, unpronounced speech representing the thought of the mind can be translated from intercepted neurological signals."

By positioning a small wireless band near the vocal chords, The Audeo intercepts and processes the signals that your brain is sending to your larynx, interpreting these signals and turning them into electronic spoken word. The device literally "reads your mind", and while it does not output your thoughts without your permission, the implications of this even being possible and that throttle removed has some people more than a little rattled.

Malicious sci-fi style abuses aside, this is a promising breakthrough for the very people it's being designed to assist: ALS victims and other people who have lost the ability to speak and move. While the current release only recognizes about 150 different words, the creator behind this technology hopes to have it recognizing phonemes before the end of this year, making it possible to express literally any word and thought.

The Audeo might be used for giving people a voice again, and for allowing them to operate an electric wheelchair and other appliances even though the cannot speak or move.

Many people are familiar with scientist Stephen Hawking, who while having lost virtually all of his motor skills retained the use of one finger, allowing him a means to continue to communicate. This ability is an exception, with most people who have been stricken with the loss of motor skills being left non-communicative.

Michael Callahan and Thomas Coleman wanted to help people with speaking disabilities regain their ability to communicate. They began to develop The Audeo and founded Ambient Corporation in the hopes of improving the quality of life for people with disabilities by empowering them to tap into their mind and communicate in a new way

How it Works …

Let me share a couple of videos that demonstrate both how the technology works and why it's potential application is such an exciting breakthrough:


Ambient Corp. CEO Michael Callahan gives a demonstration of The Audeo device at a Texas Instruments conference, showing how a neckband that intercepts nerve signals allows you to talk on the phone without emitting a sound.


ABC coverage on Michael Callahan, demonstrating some of the more compelling uses of this technology.

What's on Deck?

Stay tuned for more ways to plug in …


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