science
Vocal Tract Simulator Translates a Person’s Brain Activity Into Clear Sentences

By capturing brain signals associated with the mechanical aspects of speaking, such as movements of the jaw, lips and tongue, researchers have created a virtual, computer-based vocal tract capable of intelligible speech. The system could eventually be used by people who have lost the capacity to speak. Read More >>

animals
Grown-Up Dogs Don’t Care About Your Stupid Baby Talk

You know that thing you do where you talk to your dog like it’s a baby? New research shows that puppies respond well to this silly form of speech, but older dogs couldn't give a crap. So, stop doing it when your dog grows up. Read More >>

science
This Simulation of a Monkey Speaking Is the Stuff of Nightmares

New research shows that macaques have a vocal tract capable of emitting human-like speech, but they lack the brain circuitry to make words happen. That may be a good thing, because their simulated speech is creepy as hell. Read More >>

ai
Google’s DeepMind Invents New Way of Synthesising Speech

The people behind Google's DeepMind machine learning experiment say they've come up with a completely new way of synthesising artificial speech, binning the traditional piecing together techniques in favour of a method that uses real waveforms to create sounds. Read More >>

science
New Speech-Enhancing Software Ensures Loudspeaker Announcements Are Always Understandable

When underground, train stations, and airports get crammed full of people, it’s impossible to hear loudspeaker announcements over all the noise. So researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute developed a new system that listens for when a venue gets loud, and automatically adjusts announcements so they’re always audible. Read More >>

windows
New Toshiba Laptops Will Have a Dedicated Cortana Key

All of Toshiba’s new laptops will let you summon Windows 10’s Cortana voice assistant with a dedicated keyboard key. Expect other manufacturers to follow suit. On Xbox One, you’ll need a Kinect to use Cortana. Read More >>

watch this
Can You Ignore Your Own Voice?

We listen to our own voice when we talk; it helps us monitor what we're saying. But simultaneous interpreters have to translate one language into another in real time, so they learn to ignore themselves. Read More >>

google glass
Rare Actually Useful Google Glass Thing Demonstrated

A tool that adds live captions to real-world conversations through Google Glass has been demonstrated, showing that, if the ideas are good enough, there might be some use for Google's head-mounted folly out there in the real world after all. Read More >>

google
“OK Google, Make a Boat Go. NO! Take a PHOTO.”

Google thinks fumbling for the voice input button and talking to your phone is somehow easier than fumbling for and pressing the camera icon. Hmm. In a G+ post, Google reveals that saying "OK Google, take a photo" is the new, exciting and easier way to make your phone take pictures via the search box. It's not. Even boss Larry Page thinks speech input is rubbish. [Google] Read More >>

privacy
500 Leading Authors (and Bjork) Sign Open Letter to US Government Condemning Surveillance

Five Nobel Prize winners and well over 500 of the planet's most renowned authors have signed a letter to Barack Obama, suggesting he have a word with his people and stop tracking the mundane conversations of the planet for a laugh. They also ask the UN to create a bill that'd protect digital rights. But would the NSA stick to any rules? [A Stand via Guardian] Read More >>

steve jobs
This Lost Speech from 1983 Will Make You Think That Steve Jobs Was from the Future

Here's a possible explanation as to how Apple became so successful: Steve Jobs might've been from the future. That's not true, of course, but to hear him nail so many predictions about modern technology back in 1983, it begins to feel like the only explanation. Read More >>

apps
Next-Gen Smartphones Want to Listen to All Your Conversations

The boffins at smartphone speech recognition specialist Nuance are working on low-power tools to continually monitor all spoken communications within their audio range, so even when your phone's in standby mode it'll be ready to perform your train timetable searches and check the time in faraway places. Read More >>

apps
The Queen’s English (Literally) Added to SwiftKey Predictive Keyboard

SwiftKey's a superb little alternate keyboard for Android-based smartphones, which analyses your typing patterns and tries to guess the next word you're about to type. Now the makers have committed the treasonous task of analysing the Queen's speech, so you can text like our monarch. Read More >>

science
Your Dating Success Depends on How You Use Pronouns

While there's no denying that your ability to get the partner of your dreams might require some smooth talking, it's always seemed somewhat of an imprecise science. Now, research suggests that the secret to success lies in the way you use your pronouns. Read More >>

microsoft
Microsoft’s Working on a Real Electronic Babel Fish That’ll Have You Speaking a New Language Instantly

It almost sounds too good to be true, but apparently Microsoft’s developed the holy grail for Brits abroad -- a piece of software that learns your voice and uses it to speak in a language you simply can’t. Read More >>