Mind-Reading Machines

March 19 2008 / by GuestBlogger / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Technology   Year: General   Rating: 15 Hot

By Edward Willett
This piece was originally posted here on Edward’s blog Hassenpfeffer.

I’m a hard-line skeptic when it comes to the topic of ESP (extra-sensory perception). I don’t believe in telepathy, precognition, telekinesis, or people bending flatware just by looking at it.

That said, I’m pretty confident that in the near future mind-reading will be possible. Not for us, though: for our machines.

In fact, machines can already read our minds, to a limited extent.

Just recently, Ambient Corporation demonstrated a neckband that translates thought into speech…sort of.

It takes some training to use, and requires “a level above thinking,” according to Michael Callahand, inventor of the Audeo with fellow University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign researcher Thomas Coleman and co-founder with Coleman of the Ambient Corporation.

Rather than broadcasting a person’s thoughts, it picks up on nerve signals deliberately, but soundlessly, sent to the vocal cords, and relays those signals wirelessly to a computer, which then converts them into words spoken by a computerized voice.

The current system only recognizes about 150 words and phrases, but an improved version is supposed to be out by the end of the year that doesn’t have a vocabulary limit, because instead of recognizing specific words and phrases, it will identify the distinct bits of sound, called phonemes, that we use to construct complete words.


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