AlterEgo: Wearable That Lets You Give Voice Command by Reading Your Unspoken Thoughts

What if Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant could read your mind...

What if Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant could read your mind and act according to what you are thinking? That may soon be possible with a new gadget called AlterEgo, created by MIT Media Lab graduate student Arnav Kapur. The device could help a person with speech impediment or be used to dictate words for a computer to read out.

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“Our idea was: could we have a computing platform that’s more internal, that melds human and machine in some ways and that feels like an internal extension of our own cognition?”, said Kapur.

Kapur’s device resembles a jawbone hooked around the ear and attached to the user’s face between lip and chin. AlterEgo Uses a bone conduction system to hear and respond to the wearer’s internal voice via electrodes attached to the skin.

Although it doesn’t actually read the electrical signals from your brain, AlterEgo lets you silently ask questions, and then either have the answer fed back to you via bone-conduction technology. For a person with a speech impediment, it could also be used to dictate words for a computer to read out, reports Digital Trends.

AlterEgo wearable

Kapur envisions it as a new form of computer, which can be used in a way that is less demanding of your attention than tapping and swiping on a smartphone and more intimate than giving commands at Alexa. Though the device is still just a prototype, he imagines it being helpful in our everyday life.

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“Throughout the history of personal computing, computers have always been external systems or entities that we interact with: desktops, smartphones, artificial intelligence tools, and even robots,” Kapur told Digital Trends. “Could we flip this paradigm? Could we augment and extend human abilities and weave the powers of computing and machine intelligence as an intrinsic human cognitive ability.”

Sam Draper
August 8, 2019

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