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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

A new silent speech device under development

A new speech device that may enable laryngectomees and other voiceless individuals to speak is being developed. It is called “EMG-based Silent Speech Recognition”, and relies on a computer to construct words by reading the muscles in the face of the person who articulates. About 25 wires connect electrodes that are placed on the face to a computer. The person can silently articulate the words without speak them — and the computer interprets the muscle movements and turns them into sound. It is as if the computer is able to read the speaker’s lips.

At present the system is able to recognize approximately 2,000 words and is 90 percent accurate. It is hopeful that further improvements will eliminate the need for wires and the  electrodes and the software will be completely integrated into a smart phone that could be held on the side of the face and produce clear speech.