Your lungs deliver air, vocal cords vibrate, mouth moves, and...nothing. One of those processes failed and you're left voiceless, speaking impaired. Enter Audeo which captures electrical signals intended for the vocal cords and interprets them to produce sound.
Michael Callahan invented this incredible tool after a traumatic accident left him wondering how difficult life is for those who lose an ability most of us take for granted. His invention is actually a system of devices enabling audible speech:
Three pill-size electrodes on the throat pick up electrical signals generated between the brain and the vocal cords. A processor in the device then filters and amplifies the signals and sends them to an adjacent PC, where software decodes them and turns them into words spoken through the PC's speakers. By placing the electrodes on the neck and "speaking" silently through vocal-cord movements (but without moving the mouth), the wearer generates enough neural activity to trigger this chain of events.
Audeo is capable of more than just giving a voice to those physically impaired though. It could be used to speak on the phone without ever actually vocalizing anything, opening up the possibilities to fantastical spy or military applications. That and it could one day get rid of that is-he-talking-to-me-or-someone-on-the-phone confusion around people wearing BlueTooth headsets. [Pop Sci]
This week, Gizmodo is exploring the enhanced human future in a segment we call This Cyborg Life. It's about what happens when we treat our body less as a sacred object and more as what it is: Nature's ultimate machine.