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Wearable Artificial Graphene Throat (WAGT) to ‘Voice’ Mute People

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Published on : Jul 26, 2019

An artificial throat developed by a team of scientists could help mute people express their thoughts. The team reports to ACS Nano with regard to its operations. The scientists claim that the artificial throat will give ‘voice’ to mute people in the literal sense. The artificial throat is a wearable device made of graphene lattices. Scientists refer to this device as WAGT, which is an acronym for Wearable Artificial Graphene Throat. The researchers had several research cases to transform the human throat at their disposal. Also, it is certain that previous studies related to throat functioning helped the scientists in this feat. 

Decoding Mute Behaviour

The inability to speak is related to dysfunction of the vocal cords. The movement of the mouth, along with vocal cord vibrations, causes individuals to speak. However, the individual loses speech once the vocal cords are injured or lesioned. 

One can carry the wearable like a tattoo on the neck. Then, the device coordinates with throat movements to convert them into sound. The newly-developed artificial throat device is superior to skin sensing detectors. This is because the latter cannot convert movements on the human skin into typical sounds. The initial prototype of the wearable device was a tape-like strip which caused discomfort for the individual. Hence, the scientists developed a thinner, tattooable, and skin-like version of the device.

Development Methodology

The researchers used polyvinyl alcohol sheets and scribed graphene on them. The thickness of the device measured between 0.6 and 1.2 inches. Furthermore, researchers the device to the throat of a volunteer using water. Then, they linked alternating electrodes to the device to test the results. The entire setup consisted of a power amplifier, decoder, microcomputer, and circuit board. As a result, scientists converted signals from the throat into speech using these components.