Each week, we spotlight a cool innovation recommended by some of the industry's top tech writers. This week's pick is a wearable device that responds to nonverbal commands.
Researchers from MIT have created a wearable device that "can recognize nonverbal prompts, essentially 'reading your mind,'" said Thuy Ong at The Verge. The AlterEgo — which loops around a user's ear, follows the jawline, and attaches underneath the mouth — contains electrodes that detect "neuromuscular signals in your jaw and face" that are activated by internal verbalizations, or the words you're saying in your head.
Invisible to the human eye, the signals are fed into a machine-learning system that associates "specific signals with words," so a user can control other devices without any movements or audible voice commands. In the above video demonstrating the AlterEgo's capabilities, a completely still user scrolls through a streaming-video menu by simply thinking directions such as "down" and "right." In tests, the device showed 92 percent accuracy when trained on the relatively limited vocabulary of 20 words.