Experimental earphone can ‘hear’ commands user is silently mouthing

An earbud uses artificial intelligence to interpret commands someone mouths without speaking by tracking changes in the shape of their ear canal

Technology 3 August 2022

Young woman smiling while riding on a bus listening to music on a smartphone

Changes in the shape of the ear canal could be used to communicate with smartphone virtual assistants.

Ground Picture/Shutterstock

People could soon let their ears do the talking when using a virtual assistant thanks to an ear-reading device. When we speak or mouth words, our facial muscles move and our ear canals change shape. The new earphone technology detects those changes, allowing people to issue silent speech commands.

“One key problem for using voice assistants right now is that every time [we use them], we need to say some activation words, so …

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