Cybernetic update - The Audeo

Posted by Ralph | 11:26 PM

Michael Callahan is a 24 year old STUDENT at the University of Illinois. He recently won the prestigious $30,000 Lemelson-Illinois Student Prize for inventing The Audeo, a device that translates neurological signals into spoken words or commands for other devices (such as a motorized wheelchair).

I was watching the Discovery Channel and The Audeo promises that those who have lost the ability to speak from disease or injury to speak again from thought alone.

"The Audeo will allow people with disabilities to express their thoughts and ideas, an aspect of life which is often taken for granted. ALS patient, Stephen Hawking accomplishes this through the movement of one of his fingers which has remained controllable despite his disease. By being able to move his finger, Stephen Hawking has been able to propose some of the most intelligent ideas of our time. Without that ability, those ideas would be confined to his own mind. Unfortunately, most patients lose all motor control and have no way of conveying their ideas. It is our hope that the Audeo will give people back this ability and allow many more profound ideas to change the world through communication."

"The Audeo is being developed to create a human-computer interface for communication. When a person intends to speak their brain sends muscle instructions in the form of electrical signals through the nervous system. These electrical signals stimulate the muscles to, under normal circumstances, produce the desired speech. In many cases however, disease or disability can prevent the muscles from responding to this stimulation. The Audeo gets around this by directly utilizing the electrical activity itself, which even in severe cases can still be present."

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