After rigorous testing and feedback from people with ALS, the Ambient Corp. has released the beta version of its Audeo speech system (pictured), which reads brain signals sent to the vocal cords and uses them to help produce speech.
Designed for people with ALS, the Audeo Beta Package relays electrical impulses from the brain to a small laptop that converts the signals to speech. The system doesn’t read minds or give voice to random thoughts, but picks up muscle impulses created by conscious efforts to speak. (“Beta” refers to the fact that the product is still in development.)
Potential buyers must submit an application before a device can be shipped. Then, users can test it for two weeks before purchasing or returning it (no rental fee or deposit is required). Even if people return the device, Ambient relies on their feedback to improve the Audeo system and software.
The Audeo package ($5,000) includes the sensor and neckband, portable laptop with preloaded software and video tutorial. Users receive free hardware and software upgrades as they become available.
“It’s the most natural way that you would talk to somebody,” says Kimberly Beals, communications director for the Ambient Corp., which is based in Urbana, Ill. “You’re using the same movements to talk that you did before ALS. You just have to figure out the best place for the sensor and how to get the best signal.”
To receive an in-depth Audeo guide and application, contact Beals at (217) 408-4085 or by e-mail at email@example.com.