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Nerve-tapping Neckband Allows 'Telepathic' Chat

samzenpus posted more than 6 years ago | from the mouth-of-cyber-sauron dept.

Communications 205

ZonkerWilliam writes "Newscientist has an interesting article on tapping the nerve impulses going from the brain to the vocal chords, allowing for 'Voiceless' phone calls. "With careful training a person can send nerve signals to their vocal cords without making a sound. These signals are picked up by the neckband and relayed wirelessly to a computer that converts them into words spoken by a computerized voice." It's not quite telepathy, but it's pretty close."

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Frosty Poophole allows telepathic crap (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22736436)

What more needs to be said? Telepathic crap, people! Isn't that awesome?
 

Wireless, eh? (4, Funny)

Secret Rabbit (914973) | more than 6 years ago | (#22736438)

Isn't there a reason why DefCon doesn't have wireless mic's at there event?

wookies late (-1, Offtopic)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 6 years ago | (#22736444)

ayn in you zin torah whee eel. ayn rill ye lie kit.

Telepathy (5, Funny)

the brown guy (1235418) | more than 6 years ago | (#22736448)

" It's not quite telepathy, but it's pretty close." I though telepathy was when you could transmit or interpret one's thoughts. These guys are talking about interpreting what one is saying. I am way baked.

Re:Telepathy (1)

logixoul (1046000) | more than 6 years ago | (#22736670)

Actually, they are talking about interpreting what one is trying to say.

Re:Telepathy (1)

rolfc (842110) | more than 6 years ago | (#22736948)

Actually, they are talking about wiretapping and then interpreting what one is trying to say or are saying.

Ventriloquism (5, Funny)

nick_davison (217681) | more than 6 years ago | (#22736452)

Speaking without moving your lips is generally ventriloquism, not telepathy.

Granted, telling off color jokes with disturbing old man/child connotations doesn't sound quite as cool as reading minds and joining the X-Men. Still, if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck without moving its bill, it's still a ventriloquist duck and not a telepath.

Re:Ventriloquism (3, Funny)

jd (1658) | more than 6 years ago | (#22736712)

Still, if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck without moving its bill, it's still a ventriloquist duck

Keith and Orville [thebubbleburst.co.uk] are still touring?

Re:Ventriloquism (2, Funny)

alxkit (941262) | more than 6 years ago | (#22736714)

careful now, it just may be a platypus.

Re:Ventriloquism (4, Insightful)

thedrx (1139811) | more than 6 years ago | (#22736716)

Ventriloquism is the ability to 'talk with your stomach'. I never saw any ventriloquist do their stuff over 1000s of miles, either.

Re:Ventriloquism (2, Funny)

Gerzel (240421) | more than 6 years ago | (#22737268)

Try YouTube.

Re:Ventriloquism (1)

edittard (805475) | more than 6 years ago | (#22737364)

News just in: some modern English words have a different meaning than a literal translation of their Greek and/or Latin components would imply.

Re:Ventriloquism (5, Insightful)

DeadDecoy (877617) | more than 6 years ago | (#22736904)

Yes but there's a big difference between ventriloquism and the content in the main post. In ventriloquism you're still vocalizing the words while giving the illusion that you're not. In this case you are not making vocal sounds but rather, sending neuron signals to a computer to do the talking for you. It's a hell of a lot closer to telepathy than you might think.

Re:Ventriloquism (2, Insightful)

Fred_A (10934) | more than 6 years ago | (#22737024)

Yes but there's a big difference between ventriloquism and the content in the main post. In ventriloquism you're still vocalizing the words while giving the illusion that you're not. In this case you are not making vocal sounds but rather, sending neuron signals to a computer to do the talking for you. It's a hell of a lot closer to telepathy than you might think.
Like the GP, I don't see assisted wireless ventriloquism as being any closet to telepathy than Hawking's rig is. Easier to use and carry around, certainly, but that's about it. It doesn't read sounds, it's another interface to drive a speech synthesizer. It's interesting because it could be a much more natural one, although the "training required" bit is problematic but we can probably expect that to get better. And that non-invasive hands-free interface can of course potentially be used to drive lots of other things.

Re:Ventriloquism (1)

xSauronx (608805) | more than 6 years ago | (#22737212)

couple this with the tech that can send directional sound and you could have some fun freaking people out :)

Re:Ventriloquism (2, Insightful)

cp.tar (871488) | more than 6 years ago | (#22737316)

It's interesting because it could be a much more natural one, although the "training required" bit is problematic but we can probably expect that to get better.

As any tool, it needs to be trained with to use properly.

Most of our computer troubles are PEBKAC, i.e. untrained users.
"Easy to use" doesn't have to mean (and shouldn't be supposed to mean) "easy to use the very first time you use it with no training whatsoever". That's intuitive.
Notepad is intuitive; vi is easy to use. Once you learn to use it, of course.

Re:Ventriloquism (5, Funny)

jamesh (87723) | more than 6 years ago | (#22736996)

Still, if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck without moving its bill, it's still a ventriloquist duck and not a telepath.

And I for one welcome our non-telepathic ventriloquist duck overlords.

screw myminicity (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22736456)

Ok, it's done, I'm fed up.

Vigilante style repercussions are not my usual style but the myminicity.com folks have managed to get me irritated once too many. Myminicity.com 'rewards' their users for spamming sites with links that point back to myminicity.com.

I'm a regular visitor to slashdot and since a couple of weeks a bunch of jerks have been placing cloaked links to 'myminicity.com' in just about every story.

Myminicity.com is complicit in this because they actively encourage users to send traffic to those links in order to boost their status in the system.

To give the myminicity.com link-spamming jackasses a run for their money I've come up with a very simple plan.

Fight fire with fire.

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ho

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That's right! Post this link in your blogs, on slashdot articles, everywhere you can. We badly need links to /tra, /ind, /sec, /env because are population is bleeding away.

Together, people, we can beat the spammers at their own game and grow the largest city!

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Technically this is probably illegal, but call me reckless. As I said, I'm pissed off

Re:screw myminicity (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22736812)

HI THERE! Jacquesm mr almighty minicity hater himself

http://slashdot.org/~jacquesm/ [slashdot.org]

Re:screw myminicity (0, Flamebait)

jacquesm (154384) | more than 6 years ago | (#22737152)

actually, no that's a troll that has cut & pasted stuff from my post.

But from the looks of it some 13 year old with a grudge is trying hard to make me look bad.

The myminicity plague seems to have been neutralized.

I often wonder if these trolls are aware that the /. admins all have access to their particulars anyway and that they are far from anonymous.

Throat mikes? (4, Insightful)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 6 years ago | (#22736460)

roughly transcribed by me:

"One of them, that we're developing is a usage scenario that we call 'the smartest man in the room'. We capture the activity that a person wants to say and translate that into speech and use that speech to query search engines."
Wouldn't a throat mic be easier to use? No specialized training required?

Re:Throat mikes? (4, Insightful)

nacturation (646836) | more than 6 years ago | (#22736510)

Wouldn't a throat mic be easier to use? No specialized training required?
Ability to use vocal chords required. Otherwise, Stephen Hawking would have been using one of those long ago.
 

Re:Throat mikes? (1)

cheater512 (783349) | more than 6 years ago | (#22736826)

I believe these also require the vocal chords as well.
At the very minimum, your brain would have to be wired up to use them.

so it requires training ehh??.. (1)

RuBLed (995686) | more than 6 years ago | (#22736556)

Hi Mom...

Re:Throat mikes? (1)

Handlarn (911194) | more than 6 years ago | (#22736686)

I hope they don't show the querys on a projector or anything, that could be somewhat distracting when there's bound to be a few "fucking idiot", "asshole" and "nice rack" searches.

Oooh! Google image search!

Re:Throat mikes? (2, Interesting)

kcelery (410487) | more than 6 years ago | (#22737380)

The throat mikes is useful when you are riding on a F15. A neckband signal pickup is useful in scuba gears.

Catchphrase (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22736464)

It's not quite telepathy but it's more than telephony?

may i be the first... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22736472)

...to predict no comments in this slashdot thread as a result of this new "telepathy"?

what? already comments? plus mine? doh!

With Careful Training? (-1, Troll)

nick_davison (217681) | more than 6 years ago | (#22736474)

With careful training a person can send nerve signals to their vocal cords without making a sound. These signals are picked up by the neckband and relayed wirelessly to a computer that converts them into words spoken by a computerized voice.
Wow, that sounds an awful lot like my prior art:

With careful training a person can send nerve signals to their fingers without making a sound. These signals are picked up by the "keyboard" and relayed wirelessly to a computer that converts them in to words spoken by a computerized voice.

Really? That was all I had to do to invent telepathy a decade ago? I hereby bequeath my invention to the good of all mankind.

Re:With Careful Training? (1)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 6 years ago | (#22736484)

You invented the keyboard a decade ago?

Well, wipe my butt and call me Baby! And you deign to post here on Slashdot?

Re:With Careful Training? (1)

oodaloop (1229816) | more than 6 years ago | (#22736658)

I think he was intimating he invented the wireless keyboard. But still...

Re:With Careful Training? (2, Insightful)

Jens Egon (947467) | more than 6 years ago | (#22736740)

Just because his prior art has prior art doesn't mean it's not prior art.

Oh great (4, Funny)

Jafafa Hots (580169) | more than 6 years ago | (#22736478)

"psychics" and televangelists will find a way to work this into their money making schemes.

Re:Oh great (1)

Joe Tie. (567096) | more than 6 years ago | (#22736594)

So called psychics are going to look pretty pathetic as well, when anyone can transmit like this with 100% accuracy. Much of the allure of that whole scene is that it's firmly in the real of an unavailable other, and that the illusion of a 1% or so success rate can be spun as impressive. When any teen can get 99% success in transmitting information without speech or writing, there's going to be a lot less people falling for mentalisim disguised as reality.

Re:Oh great (4, Funny)

Jafafa Hots (580169) | more than 6 years ago | (#22737002)

Yep. Just like how now that anyone can send email, nobody falls for Nigerian 419 scams, spam or phishing emails.

Re:Oh great (1)

ichigo 2.0 (900288) | more than 6 years ago | (#22737048)

I think the exact opposite will happen. The masses still haven't caught up to nineties tech, so I doubt they will learn about this anytime soon.

Great technology (5, Interesting)

bondsbw (888959) | more than 6 years ago | (#22736480)

Combine this with text-to-speech and wireless headphones, you have an effective non-vocal (and two-way) communication system that doesn't require the use of the hands or the knowledge of surrounding personnel.

The military uses, as well as civilian, are probably limitless. Of course, we're now one step closer to making it impossible to detect cheating on tests, and similar scenarios.

Re:Great technology (4, Insightful)

sporkme (983186) | more than 6 years ago | (#22736574)

Yes, this is absolutely amazing, and that a "backdoor hack" solution to the problem of "telepathic" communication and mobility is so promising is a testament to our ingenuity as a species. Great work! Please, though, let the commercial demand$ for entertainment and convenience devices $ubsidize the need for mobility and communication devices that disabled people need.

If you RTFA and watch a linked video, you will see a wheelchair controlled by thought. The the current iteration is rough and inaccurate, and the user must undergo training to the device, but I'd hope that the promise of provision and the simplicity of design in form and function will make this a real winner with further development. Reverse it: once the device can be trained to the user, we have a deployable thought-control system that uses our favorite external neural pathway, speech.

Accolades to the designers... I think we have a real winner here based on the proofs-of-concept, and with further development we will be better off is both convenience and humanitarianism.

Re:Great technology (1)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | more than 6 years ago | (#22737392)

Yes, this is absolutely amazing, and that a "backdoor hack" solution to the problem of "telepathic" communication
What, are they communicating via farts?

Military Uses? (0)

happyslayer (750738) | more than 6 years ago | (#22736598)

After seeing the demo video, let me be the first to say:

I, for one, welcome our jack-booted but mute-or-telepathic, robotic-translation, 3 second-delay Overlords!

Re:Great technology (2, Funny)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 6 years ago | (#22737036)

"Read my lips, no more taxes Sub-verbal:(I'll just increase the old ones).

Re:Great technology (1)

bkaul01 (619795) | more than 6 years ago | (#22737046)

It'd still be quite possible to detect cheating on tests, etc.: the information has to be transmitted via radio waves. If they can be received, they can be detected. Undetectable communication is impossible.

Re:Great technology (1)

theheadlessrabbit (1022587) | more than 6 years ago | (#22737208)

Of course, we're now one step closer to making it impossible to detect cheating on tests, and similar scenarios.
While teachers will be unable to detect these silent, unvocalized sounds being transmitted through the air, I'm sure the transmitter collar around their neck MIGHT clue them in that something strange is going on.

students will try to hide the neck band under their collar, but teachers will change the rules for attending exams so the device wont be so easy to hide.

outside the exam room, a sign will be posted that reads:

T-shirts only. No turtlenecks allowed!

then teachers will wonder why all essay questions now include penis jokes.

Re:Great technology (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22737422)

The military uses
Indeed. Although you have to train to do this well, iirc there is always some leakage to the vocal nerves when something is internally vocalised but not actually said. The potential value of this in torture^W coercive interrogations is obvious and probably already under evaluation.

Not even close (1, Insightful)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 6 years ago | (#22736482)

It's not quite telepathy, but it's pretty close.


The definition of Telepathy - apparent communication from one mind to another without using sensory perceptions.

Since there is a computer, a speaker, and the other persons ears involved, this is not even remotely close to being telepathy.

Re:Not even close (1)

iNaya (1049686) | more than 6 years ago | (#22736578)

It's pretty close. The technology involved doesn't matter. All they have to do is have the receiver input signals directly into the nerves that carry signals from the ears to the brain. Just get rid of the speakers. This type of technology already exists for eyes, why not for ears. Miniaturise the whole apparatus and for all intents and purposes it would look exactly like telepathy.

Re:Not even close (1, Flamebait)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 6 years ago | (#22736652)

It's not "pretty" close at all.

Read the definition again. Telepathy involves communication directly to ANOTHER brain without the use of any sensory apparatus on the receiving side, OR the sending the side.

Whatever you are talking about building will effectively create new sensory apparatuses.

Whatever it is, it will not be telepathy.

Re:Not even close (5, Interesting)

ceroklis (1083863) | more than 6 years ago | (#22736750)

That's a ridiculous argument. If telepathy is a form of communication, the brain still needs to have an input where it receive the information from the other brain. How is this input different from a "sensory apparatus"? Your definition of telepathy implies its impossibility, and is thus useless.

Or perhaps you consider that a device taping to the cochlear nerve is not part of the brain. Then what if the device was installed inside the cranium, directly connected to neurons, would you call it telepathy now ? If not where is the boundary ?

If you insist that the "brain" in you definition is a non-modified human brain then the question is quickly settled: telepathy doesn't exist. Therefore debating whether something is or is not telepathy is pointless.

Re:Not even close (1)

ichigo 2.0 (900288) | more than 6 years ago | (#22737102)

If you insist that the "brain" in you definition is a non-modified human brain then the question is quickly settled: telepathy doesn't exist. Therefore debating whether something is or is not telepathy is pointless.
Perhaps the GPs definition would be satisfied by a device (genetically engineered species, or an old fashioned piece of hardware) that sends signals to an unmodified brain? If it has to be baseline human to baseline human, then I agree that telepathy belongs in the same category as god, FSM and invisible pink unicorns.

Re:Not even close (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22737314)

How dare you discard invisible pink unicorns and FSM in a single breath?!

God I can take, everyone knows the bible is the most messed up fairytale ever written.

Re:Not even close (1)

ichigo 2.0 (900288) | more than 6 years ago | (#22737402)

Damn, I knew I'd piss of some pastamentalists with my post. Well, at least I didn't draw an invisible pink unicorn.

Re:Not even close (1)

Jens Egon (947467) | more than 6 years ago | (#22736768)

Your definition of telepathy is silly.

Try this one (from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telepathy [wikipedia.org] ).

Telepathy, from the Greek tele meaning "distant" and patheia meaning "to be affected by" describes the purported transfer of information on thoughts or feelings between individuals by means other than the five classical senses

Re:Not even close (5, Insightful)

sporkme (983186) | more than 6 years ago | (#22736668)

Closest to ~telepathy~ we'll live to see... cynic. I won't be satisfied until I can actually communicate with my mind alone. Implants into my brain and straps on my neck do not qualify. Teach me to actually send my thoughts unaided! No, dammit, I don't want to use a tinfoil satellite dish! It is not telepathy unless my flesh can actually just broadcast my thoughts. That'll be the day...

Put down the weed, the dictionary and the Ray Bradbury! Don't dismiss a breakthrough just because it is not 80th century and is tagged as (not literal) telepathy. These guys have worked hard to develop a system that brilliantly answers a big question involving the transformation of thought to the physical world. Lower your cynic shield and watch the wheelchair video (linked in TFA). Have you even known a person with useless or missing legs? Arms? With this they could move about as freely as we "normies" do, utilizing simple vocal gestures. This is a major breakthrough, undeserving of lampooning.

--Not too sure about driving cars though. Or voting. Or intermarriage. Freaks.-- /sarcasm

this won't go over well (2, Funny)

l0ungeb0y (442022) | more than 6 years ago | (#22736490)

The computerized voice will ruin it.

Mainly because no one wants to have phonesex with Stephen Hawking.
"hellll-o, you rrrrrrrrrr-eally ta-urrrrrrning meon rightnow."

And then as an answer to that, they'll come out with customized "human sounding" voices and you'll be wanting to shoot all your friends who always call using the American idol flavor of the week voice.

Blind dates will be ruined too... For all you know, that babe-alicious voice on the other end belongs to a 300lb 60 year old with a trechiotomy.

Re:this won't go over well (5, Funny)

glittalogik (837604) | more than 6 years ago | (#22736640)

A blind date with a sexy voice and and a tracheotomy? Jackpot!

Real Telepathy (4, Interesting)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 6 years ago | (#22736496)

Putting aside the "magic" aspect of telepathy that most SciFi authors seem to strive for, I have often considered how telepathy might look if it were a feature of a real species of creature. What I came up with is surprisingly realistic, though it lacks the charm of SciFi style telepathy.

The way I see it, telepathy is basically wireless communications. A species that "spoke" telepathically to one another in close proximity could use radio waves to communicate in an omnidirectional fashion. For high enough wavelengths, a nerve center acting as an antenna could be exposed from nearly any location on the body. (Possibly metallic in nature?) By modulating the frequency range used to "speak", a creature could become louder or quieter, effectively maintaining the type of privacy we humans enjoy with a whisper rather than a shout.

Of course, the disadvantage becomes immediately clear. There's no mind-reading involved. No cool body-takeovers, no telekinesis developing, nothing but a simple method of communication that is alien to us, yet accomplishes approximately the same task as human speech.

It's fun to think that "telepathy is the next stage of human evolution", but there are no obvious physics to support the SciFi interpretation of telepathy. (Especially when you get into telekinesis, which requires WAY more energy than the human body can produce!) What physics does allow us is slightly more boring, but none the less an interesting concept to explore. :-)

Re:Real Telepathy (2, Interesting)

Smordnys s'regrepsA (1160895) | more than 6 years ago | (#22736548)

I liked the comment, but

Especially when you get into telekinesis, which requires WAY more energy than the human body can produce!

[citation needed]

A mother can produce enough force to lift the back end of a car off her kid. Why would you assume that by gaining the magical power of TK, I would somehow only be able to produce less force?

Re:Real Telepathy (1)

arotenbe (1203922) | more than 6 years ago | (#22736756)

A mother can produce enough force to lift the back end of a car off her kid. Why would you assume that by gaining the magical power of TK, I would somehow only be able to produce less force?
The problem isn't one of producing the necessary force. The problem is of directing that force in a meaningful way, i.e. at the object you want to move, and not obliterating it in the process.

Gotta remember that inverse-square law.

Re:Real Telepathy (1)

bdjacobson (1094909) | more than 6 years ago | (#22737106)

I liked the comment, but

Especially when you get into telekinesis, which requires WAY more energy than the human body can produce!
[citation needed]

A mother can produce enough force to lift the back end of a car off her kid
Oh dear, what happens if the whining children get some of this technology. Now not only are they screaming at mommy for that box of cereal, everyone else at the grocery store will be able to hear it too!

Re:Real Telepathy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22737172)

Or everyone would just go away to the corn field.

Re:Real Telepathy (1)

Carthag (643047) | more than 6 years ago | (#22737302)

> A mother can produce enough force to lift the back end of a car off her kid

Citation needed indeed. Since when was that anything but an urban legend?

Re:Real Telepathy (1)

smallfries (601545) | more than 6 years ago | (#22736586)

You don't seem to have considered the effects of changing bandwidth in the channel. Speech is a type of brain to brain communication, but because we need to convert the symbols into something that can be transmitted and recognised through sound the bandwidth is quite low. What if you had another type of brain to brain communication that wasn't restricted by the abilities of the vocal cords and the ear? If the bandwidth were higher then we could transmit a more complex set of symbols that allowed richer communication.

One staple of telepathy in sci-fi is transmitting mental images or memories. This is something that could be achieved with your wireless commms, although the question of how to plug the transmitter and receiver into the brain is quite complex. No doubt the neurobiologists will have fun decoding that schematic..

Sir Fred Hoyle (2, Interesting)

jd (1658) | more than 6 years ago | (#22736832)

As much as I dislike his oil-from-volcanos and continuous-creation ideas, he did come up with some interesting sci-fi, especially in the area you're talking about. One of his stories, "The Black Cloud", hypothesises beings with immense bandwidth between individuals and discusses at length the impact of bandwidth on individualism and communications. It also suggests the impact of very high-bandwidth communication from such an individual to the human mind (the human mind might initially be taken over but would rapidly fry).

Re:Real Telepathy (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#22736606)

Are there any organisms that communicate by radio?

If not, why not?

There's certainly animals that communicate by light..

Re:Real Telepathy (1)

Jens Egon (947467) | more than 6 years ago | (#22736806)

There are certainly animals that have electromagnetic senses. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electroreception [wikipedia.org]

Note that the active electroreceptive animals could in principle communicate that way. (whether any does I don't know.)

Re:Real Telepathy (1)

LaskoVortex (1153471) | more than 6 years ago | (#22736814)

"Radio" and light are fundamentally the same, the only difference is their location in the electromagnetic spectrum. More relevant might be "in what range of the electromagnetic spectrum do organisms use for communication (with other organisms)".

Re:Real Telepathy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22737398)

Don't know about radio stuff very much but some of the stories about the pineal gland and the possibilities of activating telepathy with it are very indeapth and rumours bout it seem to go back a long time.

Re:Real Telepathy (1)

thedrx (1139811) | more than 6 years ago | (#22736754)

I think what you are looking for is the ability to speak. It's wireless. The problem is that it's relatively short-range, but it's offset by the fact that you don't need a lot of energy to speak (imagine your typical blabbermouth and how much energy would they need to engage in their favourite activity if they used say, 3GHz waves :P)

Re:Real Telepathy (1)

jd (1658) | more than 6 years ago | (#22736800)

Since the transceiver would be relatively small in comparison to most parts of the brain, there is no reason to assume only the speech centre would have such a system. Indeed, as the complexity of the brain is a function of the complexity of the interconnects, there would be an advantage in an organism where all parts of the brain were electrically isolated (less risk of seizures going non-local) but totally interconnected (you couldn't have that many interconnects physically), provided there was sufficient bandwidth. If you can also dispense with any neurons just there for switching and routing purposes, you would be able to have more processing neurons for the same space and heat output. This allows all senses, memories, etc, to be linked and would be closer to Isaac Asimov's "Gaia" than to conventional notions of telepathy in science-fiction.

(By the way, The Tomorrow People distinguishes between telepathy and telekinesis and is generally closer to the concepts described by ESP enthusiasts than, say, The X-Men comics. Sapphire And Steel does an even better job of it. If you don't mind slow-paced, plot-heavy sci-fi, then I would suggest trying either. It's not necessary to live on a monoculture diet. There's many flavours of sci-fi out there.)

Re:Real Telepathy (1)

blahplusplus (757119) | more than 6 years ago | (#22736824)

"Of course, the disadvantage becomes immediately clear. There's no mind-reading involved. No cool body-takeovers, no telekinesis developing, nothing but a simple method of communication that is alien to us, yet accomplishes approximately the same task as human speech."

Unfortunately I am more interested in mind sharing, the ability to connect and share our images and raw data in our minds eye in another persons mind, even if imperfectly. Manythings can be accomplished once we can actually decode what peoples thoughts are in real-time and visualize them in some way, even if it's not telepathic, people can then actually 'draw' and 'show' with their mind what they want something to be or look like. The artist in me would love to do this and I'm sure many artists would also love to have the ability to actually be able to conver their thoughts directly into art or a working model upon which they can touch up outside their mind.

Re:Real Telepathy (1)

Have Brain Will Rent (1031664) | more than 6 years ago | (#22737138)

It's fun to think that "telepathy is the next stage of human evolution", but there are no obvious physics to support the SciFi interpretation of telepathy. (Especially when you get into telekinesis, which requires WAY more energy than the human body can produce!) What physics does allow us is slightly more boring, but none the less an interesting concept to explore. :-)

Mmmm well it could be there will be some support in some of the enormous body of "non-obvious physics"... you know, all the stuff we don't know yet... :) Maybe directly applying force on something isn't the most efficient way to get it to move.

Best Aspect (2, Informative)

LaskoVortex (1153471) | more than 6 years ago | (#22736546)

Since the device presumably requires contact with a person to use, this should effectively eliminate annoying background noises from public places, busses, etc., and it would also eliminate the echo effect that some headsets have (where you can hear yourself echoed in your own earplug). In fact, using these with normal talking should work just as well so you could reap these benefits without training. Now--if they could make a decent earplug with good volume and sound reproduction, we'd be all set.

Not Sure About This Working Too Well (3, Informative)

BigAssRat (724675) | more than 6 years ago | (#22736570)

Seems like a pretty cool idea, but how are you supposed to interpret letters that come out the same but are fundamentally the same from the beginning? I would think that from the vocal cord stand point many sounds are almost, if not entirely, identical but the lips and mouth movements vary the pitch. How is this device going to tell the difference in those if it is reading the vocal cords?

early days of speech recognition software (2, Insightful)

seanbruckman (637280) | more than 6 years ago | (#22736590)

The system demonstrated at the TI conference can recognise only a limited set of about 150 words and phrases, says Callahan, who likens this to the early days of speech recognition software.
Oh, i see. So it will take a hundred years to perfect? Can't wait. Really.

This is telepathy, very obviously (1)

prajjwal (965508) | more than 6 years ago | (#22736604)

This, combined with the other technology posted here: http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/02/19/238209 [slashdot.org] makes it easily a telepathy device as follows: 1. Nerve tapping voice converted to signals 2. Signals processed and transmitted by device causing the other person who is "hearing voices in his head" (see other post) If both parties have each device (i.e. nerve-tapping + voice hearing combo), then they can effectively communicate 'telepathically', and this can easily be secured with a bit more research.

I think I'll pass. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22736694)

Think I'll give this a miss. Let me know when true technological telepathy comes out such as the kind seen in the "Ghost in the Shell" series is availible.

Ghost in the Shell (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22736736)

Sounds like it would work in a way similar to the voiceless communications in the Ghost in the Shell series.

Indeed the question is though, how easy would it be for a user to switch between using the device and speaking normally? Would say after extended use the user find it difficult to switch back to a normal method of talking?

A 17 year old Sci Fi device from the book "Earth" (3, Interesting)

Jim Ethanol (613572) | more than 6 years ago | (#22736738)

This tech was described in a fair amount of detail in the 1990 book "Earth" [amazon.com] by David Brin.


Quote from Earth: "She took a subvocal input device from its rack and placed the attached sensors on her throat, jaw, and temples. A faint glitter in the display screens meant the machine was already tracking her eyes, noting by curvature of lens and angle of pupil the exact spot on which she focused at any moment.

She didn't have to speak aloud, only intend to. The subvocal read nerve signals, letting her enter words by just beginning to will them. It was much faster than any normal speech input device... and more cantankerous as well. Jen adjusted the sensitivity level so it wouldn't pick up each tiny tremor - a growing problem as her once athletic body turned wiry and inexact with age. Still, she vowed to hold onto this rare skill as long as possible."

Once again Sci Fi pwns reality...

Re:A 17 year old Sci Fi device from the book "Eart (1)

kaos07 (1113443) | more than 6 years ago | (#22736784)

Once again Sci Fi pwns reality...

Except those are words and this is real...

Re:A 17 year old Sci Fi device from the book "Eart (2, Interesting)

jhoger (519683) | more than 6 years ago | (#22736888)

And, OSC's Speaker For The Dead (1986).

-- John.

Re:A 17 year old Sci Fi device from the book "Eart (1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 6 years ago | (#22737320)

Thank you. I was trying to remember where I remembered a device like this from and knew it wasn't the other poster's example.

Re:A 17 year old Sci Fi device from the book "Eart (2, Informative)

stas2k (951288) | more than 6 years ago | (#22736956)

This weekend I saw a similar device at CeBit. It allowed to input text into computer using you eyes only. You would look at on-screen keyboard and the letters to witch your eyes are pointed would be typed in. I seemed very Sci-Fi like ;). After my colleague took a photo of the device, we looked at the photo, and saw two infrared windows. One scanned vertically, other horizontally. It seems that it simply triangulated your eye position. So simple, yet brilliant. It makes computer accessible to people with motor disability.

I worked there (1)

theppb (951102) | more than 6 years ago | (#22736758)

I was a 98C in the US Army until recently and did a tour for No Such Agency. I remember visiting the museum with my grandparents and getting hassled by the cops when grandpa took some photos of their welcome sign. It was super interesting - the Civil War wing especially. Who knew there was a signals intelligence field or cryptographic enterprise in Lincoln's era?

The last thing the world needs... (4, Insightful)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 6 years ago | (#22736792)

.... is more opertunities for people to talk, because frankly the internet has shown my that people mostly talk shit.

Re:The last thing the world needs... (3, Funny)

Jens Egon (947467) | more than 6 years ago | (#22736822)

Mod this guy down. He really deserves more power.

Ah! The answer to the codec in Metal Gear Solid! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22736818)

In the game Metal Gear Solid & sequels, the protagonist Solid Snake had a communication system where he didn't in the world around him (otherwise his cover would be blown) but yet he was talking with his support team. Some people thought it was a video game logic hole but this technology would be the answer to that. What's really interesting is that in the game the codec was created in 2007 (this game was made in late 1998!) and here we are in 2008 with this tech. We're a little behind the video game but still, this is amazing.

I'm sure the America is gonna be the first to outfit all their spies with this tech as soon as they are able. I just can't wait until it trickles down into everyday use by everyday people.

Interesting (1)

gaderael (1081429) | more than 6 years ago | (#22736880)

What sort of scenario would this be useful? I think it'd be far more useful if they could somehow use this tech to go in reverse. From either one persons vocal chords, or thoughts, and sent directly to another persons. This would be great for those who are deaf.

Re:Interesting (1)

Nullav (1053766) | more than 6 years ago | (#22736958)

Sounds useful for private conversations. Just imagine two people sitting at a bench in a park, with the only clue that they're speaking being a set of wires between them.
Another use would be phones, especially those annoying Bluetooth headsets which people are so fond of. It wouldn't help much in the way of privacy, but it's so irritating when I'm talking to someone with a headset hidden under their hair (who then goes straight into a call without telling me).

Slips of the mind (2, Insightful)

Nullav (1053766) | more than 6 years ago | (#22736890)

Before going near such a device, I want to know how likely I am to slip up and say what I'm thinking instead of just what I want to say. With my actual vocal cords, I still need to open my mouth to stick my foot in it.

Re:Slips of the mind (1)

fastest fascist (1086001) | more than 6 years ago | (#22736992)

Well, it requires training, which to me implies it requires an effort to actually say something. So it's not like it reads your mind.

I Want It NOW!! (1)

kornkid606 (1076023) | more than 6 years ago | (#22736922)

With careful training a person can send nerve signals to their vocal cords without...
/HEAVY_SARCASM on

Training? Who the hell has time for that crap in this day and age? I want to telepathically tell Google to find me porn and I want it NOW! I mean really!? Who has time for training except for fucking crip... oh, nevermind.

/HEAVY_SARCASM off

Sounds like a cool and useful device, especially for the disabled, who I am guessing are its current intended target. Now Dr. Hawking has a new way to berate my intelligence... HOORAY!

What came out of the speaker (3, Funny)

Sinbios (852437) | more than 6 years ago | (#22736930)

"Dear aunt, let's set so double the killer delete select all"?

Could be a great programming tool. (1)

Marbleless (640965) | more than 6 years ago | (#22736960)

I could see this as a good tool for programming, especially when entering initial blocks of text.

Used with a suitable editor that tracks the language and variable names as they are being 'spoken' it could work well and since it is silent it wouldn't disturb the slave on the next oar .. I mean programmer in the next cubicle.

Telepath wanted.. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22736986)

Telepath wanted, you know where to apply.

Ghost in the Shell reference (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22736994)

I'm surprised nobody brought up a GitS reference; this communication is not unlike "cyberbrain communication" as seen in the movie(s) and the tv show(s). Add some visual aid, like HUD glasses, and you can do exactly what the guy mentioned at the end of the movie - look up stuff on the internet and have'em visualised.

I, for one, welcome our new speechless overlords... I mean, I hope this technology will get marketed.

Enders Game (2, Funny)

delvsional (745684) | more than 6 years ago | (#22737092)

Jane? Is that you?

Re:Enders Game (1)

lthown (737539) | more than 6 years ago | (#22737218)

exactly. Just finished "Children of the Mind" - when I read the article all I could think of was Ender/Miro/Peter's Jewels

aperture science (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22737280)

This was a triumph! I'm making a note here: "HUGE SUCCESS!!"

It's hard to overstate my satisfaction.

This could seriously change some things (3, Interesting)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 6 years ago | (#22737384)

Walk into high school math class at 9:45, pop quiz says the teacher, reads the questions, pausing for 30 seconds after each one, computer whirring in the corner, at 10:05 the teacher announces "Well, since 6 of you failed today we are going to study xyz"

Once communication is set to bits and bytes things can go a lot faster. At least in some circumstances. Speed dating might get a whole new power setting from this and some vital sign stats.

I can see quite a few things changing radically when you don't have to the have the social clutter of one person talking at a time.

Wonder who funded it (1)

smchris (464899) | more than 6 years ago | (#22737470)

Don't see any mention of the obvious military applications.
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