Future Tech: The AlterEgo Device Can Essentially ‘Read Your Mind’

Photo: Murray Close/Getty Images

If you looked at a Bluetooth ear piece and said, “No, not douchey enough.” And if you had the same thought when you looked at Google Glass, then perhaps AlterEgo is the device for you.

According to the Verge, MIT researchers have actually created a wearable device that goes around your ear, follows your jawline and attaches underneath your mouth? Why? Because it was made to pickup on nonverbal prompts. So in a way, it “reads your mind.”

The Verge

The wearable device has electrodes that pick up neuromuscular signals in your jaw and face that are triggered by internal verbalizations (aka saying words in your head) but can’t be seen by the human eye. These signals are then given to a machine learning system that analyzes the data, associating specific signals with words.

Additionally, the system can communicate with the user via a pair of “bone-conducting headphones” by transmitting vibrations from the face to the ear. The headphones are meant to effectively convey information to the user without interrupting their conversation or hearing.

The researchers tested the device with different tasks, including games of chess and basic multiplication and addition problems, using limited vocabularies of 20 words. While the device is quite clever, it’s still limited; the researchers say it has a 92 percent accuracy with only 20 words. They’re hopeful that it will scale up with time.

Here’s what Arnav Kapur, a graduate student at the MIT Media Lab had to say:

“Our idea was: Could we have a computing platform that’s more internal, that melds human and machine in some ways and that feels like an internal extension of our own cognition?

We’re in the middle of collecting data, and the results look nice. I think we’ll achieve full conversation some day.” 

Translation: I think we’ll reach full Black Mirror some day, and this “mind-reader” will assume we’re saying, “kill everyone and burn down the house.”

Obviously if they can somehow perfect this device it would be perfect for people who have disabilities. But I just imagine fully functioning people purchasing it because they’re too lazy to speak so they will just stare aimlessly while this mind-computer does it all.