A wearable artificial graphene throat. (Credit: adapted from ACS Nano 2019, 10.1021/acsnano.9b03218)

Scientists have developed a thinner, skin-like artificial throat that would adhere to the neck like a temporary tattoo. To make their artificial throat, the researchers laser-scribed graphene on a thin sheet of polyvinyl alcohol film. The flexible device measured 0.6 × 1.2 in., or about double the size of a person’s thumbnail.

The researchers used water to attach the film to the skin over a volunteer’s throat and connected it with electrodes to a small armband that contained a circuit board, microcomputer, power amplifier and decoder.

When the volunteer noiselessly imitated the throat motions of speech, the instrument converted these movements into emitted sounds, such as the words “OK” and “No.” The researchers say that, in the future, mute people could be trained to generate signals with their throats that the device would translate into speech.

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