A new technology that will allow people
to speak without actually speaking is a technology of the future currently being researched by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. NASA's Human Senses program arranged for the start of the subvocal
speech program seven years ago. Dr. Charles Jorgensen's research team
was initially supposed to design a system of communication that would
be utilized during construction and work in the International Space
Station – but they discovered the technology could have a number of
practical uses in every day life.
It could be used by people with vocal
cord disorders, along with security personnel and a number of
potential military uses. The subvocal speech is analyzed sub-auditory
speech that is the same as silently reading. Small, button-sized
sensors are placed on a test subject's neck to record nerve signals
in the throat. All nerve signals collected by the receivers are then
sent to a processor before being sent to a computer for analyzation
and proper translation into words.
In the first test conducted by
scientists, the special software recognized six words and 10 numbers
of the English language. With 92 percent accuracy during the first
trial the software learned “stop,” “go,” “left,” “right,”
“alpha,” “omega” and numbers ranging from zero to nine. The
second test will focus on controlling a mechanical device while only
using a simple set of commands.
Subvocal research is being conducted at
the NASA Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley.