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Mobile Phones Learning to Lip Read

Wed 10 Mar, 2010 // Firstnumber Team

When Dom Joly produced his infamous mobile phone sketch in cult show Trigger Happy TV, the idea of someone broadcasting their telephone conversation to everyone else in the vicinity was something many could relate to.

Now scientists in Germany have announced they are working new technology that could see mobile phones lip read as they convert muscle movements into a computer-generated voice.

The device which is in development at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), involves electromyography – the process of turning the movements of muscles into electrical pulses that can be then turned into sound.

Yahoo News quoted KIT developer Michael Wand as saying “We currently use electrodes which are glued to the skin. In the future such electrodes might for example be incorporated into cellphones.”

He went on to say, “We're working to overcome the remaining technical difficulties. In five, maybe ten years, this will be usable, everyday technology.

Make cheap international calls to places like Zimbabwe, Egypt and Thailand without saying a word

The technology will not only help people who have lost their voice through accident or illness regain the ability to make spoken telephone conversations but also acts as a translator that allows people to speak to people of other languages in their native tongue.

Michael Wand was also quoted as saying “The translation technology works for languages like English, French and German, but for languages like Chinese, where different tones can hold many different meanings, poses a problem.”

The team hope to push full steam ahead with the protoype that currently works at 99 per cent efficiency meaning only one word in 100 is incorrect.

We at Firstnumber are awfully excited about this new technology so will let you know when silent and cheap international calls can be made!

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