So some German and Carnegie Mellon University boffins have just unveiled technology that they say will one day let us all understand each other, no matter which language issues forth from our mouths. This translation marvel will be accomplished, apparently, through the use of electrodes attached to our face at various strategic points. Right. Well that ends that line of research really, doesn’t it? Tsk.
CMU computer science graduate student Stan Jou, 34, of Shadyside, stood before the audience yesterday morning with 11 tiny electrodes affixed to the muscles of his cheeks, neck and throat. The Taiwan native then mouthed — without speaking aloud — the following phrase in Mandarin Chinese: “Let me introduce our new prototype.” The sensors captured electrical signals from Jou’s facial muscles when they moved to form the silent Chinese words. In a matter of seconds, this information traveled to a computer that recognized the words and translated them into English and Spanish. The phrase was then displayed on a screen and spoken by the computer in both languages.