Ambient Corp. has designed a compact system that helps people who can't speak because of neurological disorders, traumatic brain injury, cerebral palsy or other problems. Its Audeo, a wireless sensor worn on the neck, captures the wearer's neurological activity going from the brain to the vocal cords. This activity is digitized and turned into speech, letting users communicate in person or by phone. A Texas Instruments' MSP430 microcontroller uses little power and manages overall consumption so the Audeo can last more than eight hours on a single charge.
What should be the perception of a product’s real-world performance with regard to the published spec sheet? While it is easy to assume that the product will operate according to spec, what variables should be considered, and is that a designer obligation or a customer responsibility? Or both?
Biomimicry has already found its way into the development of robots and new materials, with researchers studying animals and nature to come up with new innovations. Now thanks to researchers in Boston, biomimicry could even inform the future of electrical networks for next-generation displays.
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