The Audeo captures electronic signals between the brain and vocal cords and synthesizes clear, spoken words
By Lisa KatayamaPosted 05.20.2009 at 10:53 am 8 Comments
Today's featured Invention Awards winner is the Audeo, a voice synthesizer that gives back the ability to speak to those with vocal cord or neurological damage. Be sure to check out the rest of 2009's Invention Award winners here.
When Michael Callahan was 17, he lost his short-term memory when he hit his head in a skateboarding accident. "The neural pathways were all wrong," he recalls. Within weeks, he was back to normal, but the incident left him thinking, how could he help people who had permanently lost abilities that most of us take for granted? Five years later, he came up with the Audeo, a tiny device that detects electrical activity between the brain and vocal cords and turns it into audible speech.
Zhao QingHao, the first resident of China's first eco-village, is a 58-year-old polio victim whose left leg is twisted at a 60-degree angle below the knee. He walks with a cane fashioned out of PVC tubing and smokes a pipe and the occasional enormous, self-rolled cigarette. His wife, Yi Shiqin, who is 50, is mentally disabled and has a speech impediment.