Subvocal Tendencies

I have a hard time talking and often wish that I could could connect a computer to my brain so I can communicate more… easily. The information from my brain bottlenecks at my mouth and vocabulary becomes a desert. I just can’t say something sometimes, so I don’t. Most of all, I am extremely terrified of the telephone and calling a stranger gives me so much anxiety I want to vomit out of sheer terror. I can scale 700 feet up a mountain and be hesitant, but public speaking and speaking to strangers elicit a deep dread that I could never shake and renders me frozen. There’s so much more I can express in media but, vocally? Nope. Not a chance.

Which is why the technology below gives me hope that micro expressions can be used to communicate. I’m not sure if this would erase that fear, but if I can use it to “write” my thoughts or command a computer (to put together a piece of digital art, or music), or create visual representatios of ideas, the possibilities are endless.

The technology involves a system of sensors that detect the minuscule neuromuscular signals sent by the brain to the vocal cords and muscles of the throat and tongue. These signals are sent out whenever we speak to ourselves silently, even if we make no sounds. The device feeds the signals through an A.I., which “reads” them and turns them into words. The user hears the A.I.’s responses through a microphone that conducts sound through the bones of the skull and ear, making them silent to others.

“A lot of people with all sorts of speech pathologies are deprived of the ability to communicate with other people,” says Kapur, a PhD candidate at MIT. “This could restore the ability to speak for people who can’t.”

This Device Can Hear You Talking to Yourself

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