'Voiceless phone' reads your thoughts

The "Audeo" by Ambient is a neckband that relays nerve signals to a computer for vocalization.

The next generation in voice technology may bypass the mouth altogether. A couple of weeks ago we saw a consumer product called the " Roadrunner " headset with microphones strategically placed next to the voicebox--which readers say was based on military versions --but a new technology takes the concept to a level worthy of a sci-fi novel.

Ambient's "Audeo," which colleague Rafe Needleman saw demonstrated at a conference in September , is described as a "voiceless phone" that uses sensors worn around the neck. A trained individual "can send nerve signals to their vocal cords without making a sound," according to New Scientist Tech, adding that "these signals are picked up by the neckband and relayed wirelessly to a computer that converts them into a computerized voice." The technology behind the Audeo has also been used in controlling wheelchairs.

One reassuring aspect: Ambient co-founder Michael Callahan says the system requires "a level above thinking," meaning that it will work only with thoughts about specific words--so it won't blurt out whatever pops into your head.

About the author

    Mike Yamamoto is an executive editor for CNET News.com.


    Discuss 'Voiceless phone' reads your thoughts

    Conversation powered by Livefyre

    Show Comments Hide Comments
    Latest Articles from CNET
    Get connected with the foldable Yunbike X1 e-bike