Questions for ‘New glasses can ‘hear’ what you lip sync — and tell your phone’ 

an african american man is holding a phone to his mouth and speaking into it

Voice commands are a hands-free way to interact with smartphones, but in public places they’re not very private. Soon, people may have the option to go hands-free and voice-free.

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To accompany New glasses can ‘hear’ what you lip sync — and tell your phone’  


Before Reading:

  1. Besides typing on a keyboard, what is an alternate method for telling our devices what we want them to do? Describe one advantage of this alternate method or situation when it would be useful. Describe one potential drawback or scenario  in which this alternate would not work well. 
  2. What is an echo? Sketch a picture illustrating how an echo works, to the best of your understanding.

During Reading:

  1. The new technology described in this story is built into what wearable item?
  2. Besides improved accessibility, what other benefit might the new technology provide to digital interactions, according to Pattie Maes?
  3. In one sentence, describe how a sonar system works. What is an example of an animal that has sonar-like abilities?
  4. What is one way that this new technology differs from a sonar-like approach?
  5. How many speakers does the new device use? How many microphones?
  6. How did scientists measure the device’s accuracy? What were their findings?
  7. How many voice commands does the device recognize currently?
  8. What is one way Ruidong Zhang hopes this technology might help people who are hard of hearing?
  9. What is one way that this technology might help those who cannot speak?

After Reading:

  1. Come up with two potential applications for this innovative technology beyond what this story mentions. Be creative! Feel free to consider other fields — not just science or tech-related — that might benefit from such capabilities. Which applications do you see as having the most potential to improve our lives? Briefly explain your answer.
  2. Innovations can sometimes bring about new problems. Imagine a future world where the technology described in this story becomes widespread. Describe what such a world might look like and how it might differ from modern times. What is a potential concern you might have in such a future? What could we do to mitigate this potential problem if such a future came about?