January 27, 2022

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The SilentSpeller is a new prototype that lets you text with your tongue

Buzzfeed News reports that Thad Starner, a pioneer in wearable technology who played a lead role in the development of the now-defunct Google Glass, is working a new device that will people have conversations online without using their hands or talking.

Called SilentSpeller, the project is a communication system that allows people to send texts using a high-tech dental retainer to spell out words without actually voicing them, according to a demo video and academic paper reviewed by BuzzFeed News. The device works by tracking the movement of the user’s tongue. Researchers claim the system identifies letters with 97% accuracy, and 93% accuracy for entire words.

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The device reads tongue movements through the retainer’s 124 sensors, according to the academic paper. The data is then sent to a personal computer or smartphone through a USB wire. For now that means that users of the prototype will have a wire dangling from their mouths, but researchers believe they could eventually create a wireless version that fits entirely in the mouth. The device requires a dental impression for a custom-fitting retainer. Although researchers have been working on the project since January 2020, progress has been slowed because the COVID-19 pandemic has limited the number of participants that could get fitted for custom retainers.

Pretty cool, with some obvious potential uses for people dealing with things like Parkinson’s disease.

One Of The Creators Of Google Glass Is Experimenting With A Smart Retainer For Texting With Your Tongue [Richard Nieva / Buzzfeed News]

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