A new prototype device, called The Audeo was demonstrated recently (see the video below). The Audeo is a neckband which you can train to read your brain signals and speak what you want to say!
Why would you want to do that? Is this just the gimmick for the world’s laziest person?
Well, in the video, the presenter gives two use cases, the obvious one is for sufferers of Lou Gehrigs disease, or similar who have lost the power of speech. The other, less obvious is if you are in a crowded situation and want to have a confidential phone call (as demonstrated).
The device is still a little rough (it is very slow, and has quite a limited vocabulary) but there is no doubt that it will improve over time.
The first concerns I had when seeing this was, do I really want this device telling everyone what I am thinking? But according to the New Scientist article on The Audeo, this will not be an issue:
Users needn’t worry about that the system voicing their inner thoughts though. Callahan says producing signals for the Audeo to decipher requires “a level above thinking”. Users must think specifically about voicing words for them to be picked up by the equipment.
Now, if only they could build translation into it as well, you would have the universal translator. I think in English, and it speaks in the language of my audience! 10 years tops it will happen I reckon!