Popular Science

MIT is making a device that can 'hear' the words you say silently

It's like having Siri listen to your internal commands.
silent speech MIT device

Arnav Kapur and the AlterEgo device.

Lorrie Lejeune/MIT

Students from MIT have created a prototype device, dubbed AlterEgo, that can recognize the words you mouth when silently talking to yourself—and then take action based on what it thinks you’re saying.

Arnav Kapur, a master’s student at the MIT Media Lab—a division of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology that focuses on the intersection of — and author, stresses that the device doesn’t read thoughts or the random, stray words that just happen to pass through your mind. “You’re completely silent, but talking to yourself,” he says. “It’s neither thinking nor speaking. It’s a sweet spot in between, which is voluntary but also private. We capture that.”

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from Popular Science

Popular Science4 min read
These Plants Bring All The Birds To Your Yard
Carolina chickadees depend on the availability of high-calorie, high-protein prey, such as caterpillars, for a healthy breeding season. Doug Tallamy, University of Delaware Like songbirds? Right, many people do. It’s a different story when it comes t
Popular Science3 min read
Blow Flies Help Us Solve Murders—but Climate Change Is Forcing Them Out
A chrysomya megacephala, commonly known as a blow fly. Muhammad Mahdi Karim Climate change has spurred the spread of invasive insects that devour crops, destroy homes, and spread disease. Now, rising temperatures are driving cadaver-eating blow flies
Popular Science3 min readTech
Not All Twitter Bots Are Bad
All my friends are bots. Eleanor Cummins and her incredible screenshotting abilities Twitter is cracking down on bots. A fundamental part of the social media platform’s appeal, these automated accounts provide information—and comedy and artistry—in w