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NASA Develops Tech To Hear Words Not Yet Spoken

simoniker posted more than 10 years ago | from the what-am-i-thinking? dept.

Space 466

alex_guy_CA writes "Yahoo News has a story about technology that comes close to reading thoughts not yet spoken, by analyzing nerve commands to the throat. 'A person using the subvocal system thinks of phrases and talks to himself so quietly it cannot be heard, but the tongue and vocal cords do receive speech signals from the brain,' said developer Chuck Jorgensen, of NASA's Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California. Jorgensen's team found that sensors under the chin and one each side of the Adam's apple pick up the brain's commands to the speech organs, allowing the subauditory, or 'silent speech' to be captured. The story indicates the method could be useful on space missions or other difficult working conditions."

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sub-vocal communication (5, Interesting)

mmoncur (229199) | more than 10 years ago | (#8596199)

Wow! Combine this with a transmitter and receiver, and you get the ability to have sub-vocal backchannel communication with people--I think it was Gregory Benford who wrote a series of books that featured something like this.

Way better than text messaging.

Re:sub-vocal communication (5, Informative)

Cornelius the Great (555189) | more than 10 years ago | (#8596238)

The sequels to the Ender's Game (Orson Scott Card) books featured this technology as well. Ender would subvocalize with Jane, who travelled on the ansible.

Good story, good universe. I hear there's an Ender's Game movie in the works.

Re:sub-vocal communication (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8596392)

Can someone please explain to me why this post is "offtopic"?

Re:sub-vocal communication (4, Interesting)

sysbot (238421) | more than 10 years ago | (#8596366)

How about interfacing with a computer? How's about mind control "everything"! This is cool!!

Joe Haldeman maybe? (1)

N8F8 (4562) | more than 10 years ago | (#8596381)

Sure it wasn't one of Joe Haldeman's novels like "Forever Peace [amazon.com]
"?

Re:sub-vocal communication (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8596393)

Combine this with a transmitter and receiver, and you get the ability to have sub-vocal backchannel communication with people
Or the ability to "wiretap" the things floating around in someone's head, the dissents they thought that they were voicing only to themselves.

Thoughtcrime, indeed.

Re:sub-vocal communication (1)

Lord_Dweomer (648696) | more than 10 years ago | (#8596410)

Actually, I remember reading about that technology being used in the Fifth Foreign Legion trilogy.

Re:sub-vocal communication (1)

Thornae (53316) | more than 10 years ago | (#8596444)

David Brin posited this system in Earth as the nearest thing to a direct mind-machine interface. The way he told it, it wasn't in common use because it took incredible focus to use effectively; even the slightest deviation in what you were thinking got transmitted to the machine, which promptly tried to execute your deviant command, and stopped working.

Re:sub-vocal communication (2, Insightful)

CaptainCarrot (84625) | more than 10 years ago | (#8596450)

Frank Herbert had this many years ago in The Godmakers.

Soon (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8596204)

You'll know I was going to say "fp" before I click Submit.

-- CSLib Menace.

fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8596205)

fp

So sort of like... (5, Funny)

NSash (711724) | more than 10 years ago | (#8596208)

...that system Ender used to talk to Jane? That would be sooo cool. (Now, all I need is an omniscient AI with root access on every machine connected to the Internet...)

Re:So sort of like... (3, Funny)

Chairboy (88841) | more than 10 years ago | (#8596276)

> Now, all I need is an omniscient AI with root
> access on every machine connected to the
> Internet...

NSash, meet Nimda & Code Red.

Could be dangerous (5, Funny)

IANAL(BIAILS) (726712) | more than 10 years ago | (#8596211)

I mean - there are a lot of things that I *think* about some of my coworkers, especially during meetings, but I always am able to catch myself right before I say anything. You'd *really* have to watch yourself plugged into that thing!

Re:Could be dangerous (2, Interesting)

abscondment (672321) | more than 10 years ago | (#8596360)

Yeah, or think about test taking--it would take cheating to a whole new (although probably expensive) level.

Re:Could be dangerous (5, Interesting)

indigeek (755687) | more than 10 years ago | (#8596411)

It should not be too much of a problem once people get used to it. And it shouldnt be too much more difficult than to control than actually (vocally) talking without thinking.
Humans right now are trained to keep their mouth shut even when they are thinking, or even talk exactly opposite of what they think. We yet are not used to controlling the previous level, ie subconsciously talking (ever noticed people at bus stops muttering to themselves or even smiling?) .Once this technology has become mainstream, we should be able to adapt and to think only at a brain level instead of translating into vocal commands. (Qustion: Do Spanish people think differently from Chinese people who don't have a proper phonetic language if they are thinking to themselves?)
And I think we have done this before. Imagine a non-humanoid alien landing on earth. I am sure he would be surprised that all the humans can actually balance themselves on 2 foot and even run around (They would probably think it a waste trying to balance yourself on a point while crawling is much less brain intensive). And Imagine, these beings can even balance themselves on 2 inch thick wheels around a metre above earth (bicycles).And this technique has no evolutionary basis, almost all the humans learned it within a 100 years or so. Looks like a very adaptable race to me.

Re:Could be dangerous (2, Insightful)

TekGoNos (748138) | more than 10 years ago | (#8596429)

No danger with the current version.

You had to think : "two, three, one, four, two, three, three, three, four, two" or so to send "idiot" to your coworkers. (They use a grid with the letters of alphabet to reduce the number of symbols the system has to recognize.)

But once they implement full word recognition ...

Re:Could be dangerous (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8596464)

I just say 'Darn if you fall inlove with a girl, at your work...'

Lie to panes into the wood chain sennas (2, Insightful)

ObviousGuy (578567) | more than 10 years ago | (#8596212)

No way this could be used for anti-terrorism surveillance...

What? (5, Funny)

Gary Yogurt (664063) | more than 10 years ago | (#8596214)

Isn't that lip-reading technology we had on that Jupiter mission three years ago good enough?

Re:What? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8596233)

Heh.

Re:What? (1)

SEWilco (27983) | more than 10 years ago | (#8596318)

Isn't that lip-reading technology we had on that Jupiter mission three years ago good enough?

That one had software problems.

Re:What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8596457)

Isn't that lip-reading technology we had on that Jupiter mission three years ago good enough?

Do the Jupiterians have lips?

finally... (5, Funny)

mattkime (8466) | more than 10 years ago | (#8596220)

....they can hear you scream in space.

Re:finally... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8596365)

Only if you're watching Armageddon.

duh (0, Offtopic)

segment (695309) | more than 10 years ago | (#8596222)

been there done that [ebaumsworld.com]

A little confused (2, Insightful)

Robert1 (513674) | more than 10 years ago | (#8596224)

What I don't quite understand, and the article doesn't make clear; is this thing essentially reading what you're verbally thinking?
Or is it just intercepting those nerve signals which you use to inaudibly mumble to yourself with?
If the first is true, then wow, imagine just thinking to your computer and it doing it.
If the second is true then I don't really see what's so great about it :/

Re:A little confused (4, Insightful)

tsunamifirestorm (729508) | more than 10 years ago | (#8596241)

the ability to "hear" inaudible conversation is valuable in case there is a lot of outside noide (explosion?) or for psychological reasons (a crew member mutters something under his breath)

Re:A little confused (1)

sakshale (598643) | more than 10 years ago | (#8596344)

"What is analyzed is silent, or subauditory, speech, such as when a person silently reads or talks to himself," Jorgensen said.
It is muttering to yourself that it detects... Not thoughts.

No real difference (2, Insightful)

TekGoNos (748138) | more than 10 years ago | (#8596385)

While you think verbally, you normally mumble to your self.

I know for sure that it's always the case when you read (except for some spead-reading technics that involve just looking at the text without formulating the words) and I'm pretty sure it's true for all verbal thougths.

Re:A little confused (1)

mtnharo (523610) | more than 10 years ago | (#8596453)

Could be nice for various things that currently use a regular microphone, but could beneft from more privacy (people around you can't hear what you are saying) and outside noise reduction (won't pick up noise from your surroundings). If voice rec technology improves a bit, this could be a great way to make a truly useful smartphone. Simple input method that eliminates the need for thumb-cramping "keyboards", would work well in tandem with pen input and handles the phone mic as well.

Could also make for some fun ventriloquist-style gags.

Can't wait... (0)

wviperw (706068) | more than 10 years ago | (#8596228)

Reminds me of the article, Mind Over Machine [popsci.com] , which was previously posted on /.

I personally am incredibly excited about these kinds of developments and can only wait in anticipation for the real-world actualization of this research.

As if the aliens weren't enough... (5, Funny)

Anaxagor (211917) | more than 10 years ago | (#8596231)

Now I'll have to break out some more aluminium and extend the tinfoil hat into a full-face helmet.

Re:As if the aliens weren't enough... (1)

SmlFreshwaterBuffalo (608664) | more than 10 years ago | (#8596251)

Make sure you include a chin strap...

Bravo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8596326)

Your post was equaly as pithy for your parent as to the post below it. [slashdot.org] Take a bow, Sir. Take a bow.

Benefit for Stephen Hawking? (5, Interesting)

william_lorenz (703263) | more than 10 years ago | (#8596234)

I wonder if this could benefit Stephen Hawking [abc.net.au] ? Good thing he's got friends at NASA. ;)

Re:Benefit for Stephen Hawking? (1)

Flamingcheeze (737589) | more than 10 years ago | (#8596309)

Be sure to check out the MC Hawking site [mchawking.com] ... there are some hilarious MP3s, including my favorite, "F*ck the Creationists."

Re:Benefit for Stephen Hawking? (2, Insightful)

trmj (579410) | more than 10 years ago | (#8596355)

Well, Hawking has a muscle disorder. Exactly what is involved in ALS is beyond me, whether it's just the muscles or if it's a problem with the nerves getting the signals to the muscles. If the problem is the formor, it may save him a lot of typing. If it's the latter, it would be of no use.

Rich! (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8596236)

Hook one of these babies up to Alan Greenspan and we can get rich!

Words not yet spoken? (3, Insightful)

SmlFreshwaterBuffalo (608664) | more than 10 years ago | (#8596239)

The title implies that this technology could predict speech before it is said, but the article explains that it can simply read people's conscious thoughts as they are occurring. Those seem to be two completely different things to me.

The titel got it right : Words not yet spoken (3, Informative)

TekGoNos (748138) | more than 10 years ago | (#8596362)

Most (all?) people actually "speak" when they think in words. This is most observable while reading.

When you think (or read) "banana" your brain creates the same signals (but at lower magnitude) as if you would say it. Your tongue actually moves while your reading. Experiments with mute people have shown that they actually move their hands slightly, as if they were forming the words, they read, in sign-language.

This technology does not read your thoughts, but the signals send to your vocal system. As it catches the signals before they reach the vocal system, it reads "words not yet spoken". If you speak the words or just think them doesnt mattern the system. However, the system doesnt reads your thougths. If you just imagine a banana, but do not think the word "banana", the technology wouldnt catch it (even if improved), as imaging a banana doesnt trigger a signal to the vocal system.

Lie Detector (5, Insightful)

Nermal6693 (622898) | more than 10 years ago | (#8596245)

This could potentially take a lie detector to a new level - people are likely going to think over their possible responses before replying, and this could be used to obtain those thoughts. Scary.

Re:Lie Detector (2, Insightful)

trmj (579410) | more than 10 years ago | (#8596378)

Well, it could be scary, or it could be very helpful. Current lie dector tests rely on your nervous reactions to questions and answers. First they ask control questions, such as "What is your name?" or "Where are you from?" and then they ask the real ones.

On most people, "Did you rape [insert name here]?" will get a much different response than "What was your dog's name?" However, if you could read their sub-vocal patterns, you would be better able to tell who is practicing a lie before saying it.

Seems more helpful than scary to me.

Re:Lie Detector (1)

TekGoNos (748138) | more than 10 years ago | (#8596461)

Scary? Depends who has access to it.

If it was accessible to everyone, it could lead to a completly honest, telepatic society.

But we surely would have to adapt to live without even white lies. (Is this even possible?) Not to mention the problem with the lack of privacy, but perhaps such a society could be anarchic which would prevent an abuse by a governement.

And, of course, pirated devices that would let you shield your thougths (e.g. asking for a confirmation after each sentence before transmitting it) would appear and the honesty is gone.

Ah well, this was a very short dream of utopia.

NASA is out of whack. (-1, Flamebait)

mnmn (145599) | more than 10 years ago | (#8596254)

Why cant they just build rockets to send people to Mars? Do they have a free reign at Bush's budget till the elections?

If I were O Keefe, I'd move the techies from speech technologies to making sure the next rovers will have Linux/BSD and XFS/JFS/ReiserFS as filesystems... and goddamn COLOR cameras.

Re:NASA is out of whack. (0, Troll)

Derg (557233) | more than 10 years ago | (#8596289)

I have a feeling that this is going to get modded to hell, but eh..


mnmn is right.. nasa's priorities have been out of whack for a while. working on these advanced technologies, while noble, shouldnt be the thrust of the research of the organization designed and forged under the premise of space exploration and investigation. Leave this stuff to the colleges and private sector, and build us a nifty spacamajigger.

I'll take the Fifth - NOT! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8596259)

INTERROGATOR: "I'll ask you once more - Did you kill Mrs. Finkelstein?"

PRISONER: "..."

INTERROGATOR: "Aha! And where did you hide her body?"

I'm trying the device right now (3, Funny)

Larry David (738420) | more than 10 years ago | (#8596261)

<<.. wow .. this device feels kinda neat ... ooooh .. tingly on my adenoids there ... i wonder if it's working ... it would be so cool if it did .. i always dreamed of this as a kid .. oh my god being a kid was great .. i wish i could hug my dad again ..>>

No, these damn things simply DON'T WORK!!

Re:I'm trying the device right now (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8596380)

Fucker...few posts choke me up :P nice work

i say.. (1)

kertong (179136) | more than 10 years ago | (#8596262)

combine this technology with cell phones and a hands free headset, so that inconsiderate jerks can yammer on their cellphone all day long in theatres without pissing anyone else off.

Wasn't there a technology similar to this posted on slashdot a couple months back? A cell phone that read the jaw/throat muscle movements and vibrations to clear up speech in noisy environments?

We are all handicapped. (2, Interesting)

Thinkit4 (745166) | more than 10 years ago | (#8596264)

Whenever input (such as artifial eyes) or output (such as this) to consciousness is reported, it's often framed in terms of the handicapped. But it is all humans who are handicapped. Why must we endure pain just to be able to draw blood? As this article mentions, why can't we have private conversations like we can have private listening? What greater goal could there be other than to control the input and output coming from our consciousness?

Space travel is trivial in comparison.

Re:We are all handicapped. (2, Insightful)

NSash (711724) | more than 10 years ago | (#8596384)

What greater goal could there be other than to control the input and output coming from our consciousness?

That wouldn't necessarily be a good thing. Did you ever see the ending to Brazil?

Inner monologue... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8596266)

Hook it up to a speaker and you'll be able to have an inner monologue voice over everywhere you go..

That and theme music would be great...

difficult working conditions (1)

subtropolis (748348) | more than 10 years ago | (#8596268)

Seems to me this could *create* some difficult working conditions.

Useful! (2, Funny)

SinaSa (709393) | more than 10 years ago | (#8596270)

I could use this in so many situations. I can't name the amount of times I've said something I shouldn't have.

Nevermind combining this with a microphone or whatever, combine it with an electric pulse attached to my ass so it can stop me from saying stuff that ends up getting me into trouble!

Re:Useful! (1)

subtropolis (748348) | more than 10 years ago | (#8596291)

It would have been *much* funnier to see shatner pogoing around, yelling, "OOhH! oOHHH!!" instead of just yanking at that collar around his neck.

But that's just me...

Dating (5, Funny)

Mr. Certainly (762748) | more than 10 years ago | (#8596271)

Guys, no matter how geeky and nerdy you want to be, NEVER TAKE THIS INVENTION ON A DATE!

Useful if it works... (5, Interesting)

Kulic (122255) | more than 10 years ago | (#8596277)

but it'll probably be years before we see it commercially.

Imagine using voice commands to control your computer remotely - you're on a croweded bus, using your cell phone to connect to your house computer, telling it subvocally to turn on the airconditioning in time for when you get home, to turn on the coffee maker and download some work from the office and a movie for later. And no one hears anything, and the only thing they can see moving is your throat. What about dictating a letter on your way home, or other documents?

What about secret service agents? Or the military? No more needing to talk into their sleeves or using noisy radio to give away their position. You could have the conversation turn up on a pda screen, or have an artifical voice piped into ear phones. How cool would that be?

I'm sure there's lots more stuff you could use this for that I haven't even thought of yet, but I'm betting it is still years away.

Damn it! Just when I ran out of (1)

pair-a-noyd (594371) | more than 10 years ago | (#8596278)

tinfoil making a new beenie to protect me from RR/Carnivore.. Now I have to run out and buy some more to wrap around my neck!

Crap...... :-(

Better start practicing (3, Interesting)

Facekhan (445017) | more than 10 years ago | (#8596281)

Better start practicing singing a song in your head to block out the thought police. "Mary had a little lamb, little lamb, little lamb, Mary had a little lamb its fleece was white as snow..."

Re:Better start practicing (3, Insightful)

subtropolis (748348) | more than 10 years ago | (#8596307)

Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer do...

Re:Better start practicing (2, Insightful)

orthogonal (588627) | more than 10 years ago | (#8596402)

Better start practicing singing a song in your head to block out the thought police

Maybe I'm getting old, but I think it's more likely that under the current administration, I just can't enjoy the innocent thrill of thinking, "Wow, what coll technology!"

Instead my first thought is, "How soon until that theocrat Ashcroft starts using this to interrogate dissidents?"

This is perfect for rooting out hidden Muslims -- we're at war, you know --, closeted homosexuals -- Bush's newest appointee has just ruled that homosexual Federal employees can be fired --, and I wonder how soon it will be used to expose athiests and crypto-Catholics at Saint John the Intolerant's regular Department of Justice prayer breakfasts.

I'm sorry, but I just can't find much glee in this announcement, given the current officially encouraged climate of fear and hostility toward civil liberties.

Mod parent up -- and start practicing his song: it may soon be the only Fifth Amedment protection you'll have left.

Re:Better start practicing (1, Offtopic)

Motherfucking Shit (636021) | more than 10 years ago | (#8596439)

Better start practicing singing a song in your head to block out the thought police.
Good idea, but Mary Had a Little Lamb probably won't cut it. Here are the [cnn.com] lyrics [columbia.edu] you're looking for:
Let the eagle soar,
Like she's never soared before.
From rocky coast to golden shore,
Let the mighty eagle soar.
Soar with healing in her wings,
As the land beneath her sings:
'Only god, no other kings.'
This country's far too young to die.
We've still got a lot of climbing to do,
And we can make it if we try.
Built by toils and struggles
God has led us through
Now get memorizing.

Re:Better start practicing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8596469)

This is a Babylon 5 reference. None of the replies seem to have understood that.

Where have all the nerds gone?

Re:Better start practicing (0, Offtopic)

uberdave (526529) | more than 10 years ago | (#8596483)

I was only able to catch B5 sporadically. I saw an friend with a dvd boxed set the other day. He said he'd borrowed it from someone. Now I've got to track down that someone and see if I can borrow the dvds.

I don't like this (4, Funny)

r_j_prahad (309298) | more than 10 years ago | (#8596284)

"Good morning, boss (you clueless moron). What (boring and useless) work have we (pitiful understaffed few) got on the agenda for today (and the rest or our meaningless lives)?"

"I'm not feeling well (I need a beer to numb my brain after working for you all day). Can I go home (pub crawling) early?"

Curses! (2, Funny)

Walker2323 (670050) | more than 10 years ago | (#8596288)

I was going to write a comment, but I'm sure those bastards at NASA already know what I was going to say.

Slashdot Sensationalism (2, Flamebait)

myownkidney (761203) | more than 10 years ago | (#8596293)

This is not reading the mind. It is just about interpreting the nerve signals.

This is not new. Prosthetic hands that operate on nerve signals have been available for decades.

The reason I started reading slashdot was because it was fairly spin free. I guess I am better off reading the AIT Times. [mithuro.com] It sure has its faults, but it is spin free.

Interesting uses... (5, Interesting)

Eric_Cartman_South_P (594330) | more than 10 years ago | (#8596298)

Navy Seals on a mission: great way to communicate to each other in stealth.

Sports cheating: communicate perfectly to coach when you are not supposed to.

Croc Hunter: sneak up on animals in the wild to research, etc, and communicate with team and not startle animals.

Porn: somehow... someway...

Government: give tech 20 more years and when these signals can be picked up remotely, let FBI tap the signals without a court order because, hey, there is a War On Terror(TM) to fight.

Interrorgation: capture truth someone would have wanted/started to say but then held their tounge at the last second.

Slashdot: this tech + reconition to text + scripting = best chance at first post. Just think about BSD dying, and it's dead!

Re:Interesting uses... (1)

subtropolis (748348) | more than 10 years ago | (#8596334)

Slashdot: this tech + reconition to text + scripting

hmmm... reciting the ASCII goatse. (and i just know there's a Soviet Russia in here somewhere)

awesome! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8596306)

Finally I could talk on my cell in the library/classroom/theatre.

This scares me (1, Interesting)

El_Froggo (566773) | more than 10 years ago | (#8596313)

If people could hear all the things I say to myself, everyone would think I was insane. I don't want to be locked up for saying something I didn't want anyone to hear.

Re:This scares me (1)

33degrees (683256) | more than 10 years ago | (#8596478)

I think chances are, your crazy thoughts aren't any crazier than anyone else's, and I'm sure everybody has thoughts that could potentially land them in jail...

A couple implications (5, Interesting)

Schlemphfer (556732) | more than 10 years ago | (#8596321)

There are times when we think in complete sentences, and times when we just rely on non-verbal thinking. Generally, the more planned the act, the more likely that complete sentences pass through your brain.

For instance, you're more likely to simply pick a quarter off the floor than to say, "I am going to pick this quarter off the floor." Whereas, you're very likely to think the sentence, "I should buy some wine on my way home from the market" if that's part of your plans.

Seems to me that this technology could, in short order, discern the verbal sentences we fashion for ourselves as part of our daily thinking. But it won't ever pick up on the million thoughts we have each day that aren't based on words.

If this technology gets deployed, society will have to learn in short order that not every thought is legitimate. My verbalizing the thought to myself, "I am Napoleon" does not necessarily mean that I think I am Napoleon.

One last thought. If we get widespread, cheap deployment of this technology, it will have as big an effect on our lives as the World Wide Web.

Re:A couple implications (3, Interesting)

zelyan (222028) | more than 10 years ago | (#8596430)

Which of course brings up the question

Who's going to have the first 24/7 subvocal weblog?

Who, extending the webcams, is willing to put every single thought they have, enough to subvocalize, out onto the web?

SubvocalJenny

Jeff

hmmm (2, Interesting)

JeremyALogan (622913) | more than 10 years ago | (#8596331)

as I got half-ways through reading the article I got curious... sure enough, if you take a finger (or 2) and stick them under your throat you can feel it contracting slightly... just when reading. so now the question is: does it happen while I'm typing too, and the answer is YES... I actually spell out my words, and say my punctuation, while typing.

reminds me of this toy (was it a "transformers" toy?) I had when I was a kid. you'd basically talk into this tube (without talking... just form your words) and it'd make the sounds. I guess it worked on pressure differences or something... kids get crappy toys now

Re:hmmm (1)

subtropolis (748348) | more than 10 years ago | (#8596356)

I prefer not to read while vomiting, thanks. Certainly when it's self-induced.

reminds me of this toy (was it a "transformers" toy?) I had when I was a kid

Jesus, i thought for a sec there you were going to say you swallowed it or something.

And, hey? Watch out for your keyboard, huh? *That'd* be bitch to clean up.

Re:hmmm (1)

krymsin01 (700838) | more than 10 years ago | (#8596485)

I have no idea what you are talking about in reference to a transformers toy, but what you described sounds a whole lot like a 60s voice box. These were popular for a while (hey man, the guitar is talking to me), and were comprised of a speaker connected to a tube, which you put in your mouth. The sound would come out of your mouth, and depending on the shape of your mouth at any given moment distorts the sound (frequency and volume wise).

What do you think of the boss? (1, Funny)

Tokerat (150341) | more than 10 years ago | (#8596333)


"He's alright I guess."

"Ha! That's NOT what you where GONNA say!"

;-)

Well Darn (1)

Ruiner_God (758442) | more than 10 years ago | (#8596340)

No more talking about scientists under your breath....

Lie detector? (1)

Maljin Jolt (746064) | more than 10 years ago | (#8596343)

It will make a perfect tool for interrogate those evil terrorists and other citizens.

Schizophrenia (1)

SmlFreshwaterBuffalo (608664) | more than 10 years ago | (#8596348)

Wow, finally when someone says that they hear voices in their head, they can prove it!

The inner voice.. (2, Funny)

lewko (195646) | more than 10 years ago | (#8596350)

I'm just going...out to....stalk....Lenny and...Carl......

Space applications (1)

Goldfinger7400 (630228) | more than 10 years ago | (#8596363)

God help us all if there's a problem with the AE-35 unit.

What if you do not have an adam's apple? (2, Insightful)

modder (722270) | more than 10 years ago | (#8596373)

Does it still work then?

It almost makes me want to reevaluate (0)

scrod (136965) | more than 10 years ago | (#8596382)

stories like this [virginia.edu] .

David Brin's Earth, etc. (1)

yohohogreengiant (719145) | more than 10 years ago | (#8596383)

David Brin wrote about these in his novel Earth. In the book, the government outfitted these receivers in jet fighters... until they started crashing them into mountainsides. But the way he portrays household use of these things is awesome. I look forward to getting one to replace the old keyboard.

Re:David Brin's Earth, etc. (1)

Suchetha (609968) | more than 10 years ago | (#8596493)

Earth was a good (even great) book. and i still read it often. in that the concept of subvocalising was taken very seriously, and followed to extremely plausible levels. what i liked was the idea that in order to use a subvocal system properly, you had to be more in touch with your "inner beings" so that you could filter them out properly. the idea that a good subvocaliser could make the use seem close to mind to machine links were also interesting

cellular phones ! (5, Interesting)

S3D (745318) | more than 10 years ago | (#8596390)

At last I will not have to hear four persons shouting in their phones just around my pen in the open space. And there will not be those mad-looking people talking into the empty space on the street. On the other side, someone who talk other the phone a lot may forget actually produce sounds while talking with somebody nearby.

Neet (1)

TekGoNos (748138) | more than 10 years ago | (#8596400)

And I was ready to learn sign language in order to communicate in noisy bars. Now I think I better get one of these :)

To the interrogation room! (1)

bigbadbob0 (726480) | more than 10 years ago | (#8596404)

This would definitely be great in the interrogation room. Though then we'd have some big bitchfest in the YRO section wouldn't we?

Martian people's thought? (1)

yudan (750605) | more than 10 years ago | (#8596418)

I really want to know what Martian people think about us greedy Earth people. But I am not sure if they also have Adam's apple?

BTW: how do you do with the thought of our female friends? They do not have Adam's apple either, are you assuming that their thoughts are not detectable, or they have depleted every word they want to say?

Re:Martian people's thought? (1)

BitwizeGHC (145393) | more than 10 years ago | (#8596448)

All I know is, if you manage to pick up the phrase "eludium pew-36 explosive space modulator" coming from one of those martians, RUN.

normal speech recognition first (2, Interesting)

kundor (757951) | more than 10 years ago | (#8596436)

by making this post choosing Microsoft's speech recognition It is obvious that vocal largest speech recognition an needs and a lot of work before some vocal recognition challenges can be considered feasible

Translation: I am making this post using Microsoft's speech recognition. It is obvious that vocalized speech recognition needs a lot of work before subvocal recognition challenges can be considered feasible.
I mean, when with full sound you can't get good dictation, the possibility of eeking it out of throat twitches are fairly low, methinks.

No more annoying cell phones... (1)

Moocowsia (589092) | more than 10 years ago | (#8596442)

This would be great in movie theaters or restaurants it you could get them to start replacing cellphones. Imagine not having to hear someone ramble on to their cell phone in a restaurant. I you could make these things small enough you could also cheat on tests. Just wear a turtleneck.

Dave... (1)

bullitB (447519) | more than 10 years ago | (#8596454)

...I saw your throat moving...

Damnit (0, Flamebait)

MacFury (659201) | more than 10 years ago | (#8596458)

I noticed this in sixth grade, (~1995)

Trouble is, like most of my ideas and inventions, I was too lazy to persue it.

Are any other slashdotters in the same boat? Who has honestly thought up an idea, shelved it a long time ago, only to see it surface recently?

Perhaps this would be a good ask slashdot...

Dream analysis? (1)

Shark (78448) | more than 10 years ago | (#8596471)

I wonder if this could be used to 'record' what you say in your dreams. This could provide some very interesting insights on that aspect of the human psyche.

Hey morons - read the words that are printed.. (4, Informative)

zytheran (100908) | more than 10 years ago | (#8596473)

.. not what you think is printed before your eyes get around to reading it.

"A person using the subvocal system thinks of phrases and talks to himself so quietly it cannot be heard, but the tongue and vocal cords do receive speech signals from the brain,"

Notice the phrase "..talks to himself so quietly.."?
This is NOT the same as "thinks to himself"

i.e.you mouth the words but don't blow air through your airway so no noise is made.

it's not friggin' mind reading..unlike most of the level 5 posts seem to think.

Better application (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8596490)

Why don't analyze nerve signals going to arms and translate them to Quake movement commands and feed them into computer. This would lower a reaction time in FPS games :).
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