We came across this lip reading prototype during our exploration of the CeBIT 2010 halls, and while we're a bit tardy in bringing it to your attention, there's a certain timeless quality to strapping your face with wired sensors that transcends conventional restrictions of timeliness. That's our story anyway. Devised by researchers at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, it picks up the motion of speech (via electromyography) without requiring the sound, and then translates it into audible communication via a delightfully cold and robotic voice. The purposes of such a project are obvious -- from helping people who've lost their speech to making private telephone conversations actually private -- but the fun is in seeing someone use the thing in its current unrefined form. You'll be able to do that just past the break.

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Lip reading mobiles are wunderbar, still at the prototype stage (video)