Yes, you are right MIT gadget can read your mind now. When you say something, the muscles in your face move – and this happens thanks to electrical signals sent by the brain. But if you simply think of speaking a word, without actually pronouncing it, the brain also triggers electrical signals: they are similar to speech signals, only weaker, with insufficient power to move the muscles. This phenomenon is called “subvocalization,” and has been known since the 1950s. Now, scientists at MIT have developed a device that captures these signals and uses them to do something incredible: read thoughts.
It’s called AlterEgo and it’s a kind of headset, which sits behind the ear and under the chin and has 16 electrodes to pick up the electrical signals that reach the facial muscles. The scientists gathered ten volunteers and asked them to stay for about two hours using AlterEgo. During that time, they had to think in certain words and make simple head beads (like 2 + 3 + 8). Software compared the signals captured by AlterEgo with those words and accounts, crossed one thing with another – and the gadget became able to understand the previously trained commands with 92% accuracy.
The person uses his thoughts to navigate through a interface, check the time and add the price of three products in the supermarket – he simply thinks about the value of each one, and AlterEgo does it. Scientists intend to develop the technology so that the device becomes capable of recognizing more words and commands, and can be used by plane pilots and people who have lost their speech. If they can make it more discreet, maybe one day AlterEgo might even replace voice commands on smartphones – allowing you to command virtual assistants like Siri, Alexa and Google Assistant just thinking.