New Telepathy Technology: MIT’s AlterEgo

April 30, 2018 April 30, 2018 Jay Mackenzie
AlterEgo picking neuromuscular signals

Voices that we “hear” inside our minds are called subvocalization, also called silent speech, has always been there and was used by our brains as a means of remembering what it read. That was all it was used for, until now.

MIT Scientists have created a wearable, headphone-like system called AlterEgo. It can pick up the neuromuscular signals formed when we subvocalize, which are sent to neural networks that can interpret them.

The device is worn on one side of the face. It looks like a long letter C that loops over the ear and swoops down the jawline. At the other end are two pads. One sticks to an area below the lower lip and the other, below the chin. All told, it looks like a mix between an old sci-fi prop and a medical device.

The genius behind the new telepathy tech is Arnav Kapur. He is a graduate student at the MIT Media Lab. He’s been developing this technology and said in a press release, “The motivation for this was to build an I.A. device—an intelligence-augmentation device. 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 cognition?”

The goal Kapur and colleagues are to create what they call a “second self.” This is mainly to interweave computers, the internet, and A.I. into the human experience.  Kapur and his colleagues recently produced a paper on AlterEgo which they gave to officials at the Association for Computing Machinery’s ACM Intelligent User Interface conference. The idea that subvocalization causes minute internal physical vibrations goes back to the 19th century. This is the first time it’s being explored for human use.

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