A team of scientists from Beijing Tsinghua University has developed a prototype speech synthesizer (WAGT) for voiceless people, which is a new kind of wearable electronics. In essence, it copies the technology of the laryngophone, but it uses advanced microelectronics. A graphene plate is used as a throat vibration sensor.
Graphene is applied to a thin strip of polyvinyl alcohol measuring 15 x 30 millimeters. It can be moistened with water and applied to the skin like a temporary tattoo.
The principle of operation of the device is the same as that of laryngophones - a graphene plate bends under the influence of skin vibrations during a conversation, which is fixed by a microcontroller. Even if a person cannot utter a sound, his speech apparatus still makes movements - so it catches them, and then decodes the electronic unit of the gadget. The received signal is converted into commands and the synthesizer reproduces the desired sounds.
So far, the prototype is able to recognize only a narrow set of simple words - hello, bye, yes and no. However, the very fact that researchers have learned to recognize and voice the words of mute people - and in automatic mode - is already a triumph.