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We have a human, magically protected so they can function in a vacuum. How will they be able to communicate? (The closest equivalent of suit radios--except they aren't wearing a suit.)

I would think you could use bone conduction to replace a normal earphone (instead of moving a speaker cone the speaker moves something that's pressed against the person's head), but I haven't been able to think of any way of doing an outgoing message other than a keyboard or morse code or the like.

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    $\begingroup$ Who are they communicating with, and over what distances? What kind of information are they relaying - is it highly precise and technical, or more along the lines of "okay, reel me in now"? $\endgroup$
    – Cadence
    Sep 27, 2021 at 0:10
  • $\begingroup$ @Cadence What they could normally do by radio. People normally do not work truly alone. $\endgroup$ Sep 27, 2021 at 0:11
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    $\begingroup$ Can these people who are protected make a sound, i.e. are they breathing? If they can, then, between a bone conduction earphone and a en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Throat_microphone , they can use normal radio communications. If not, I'd go with something like wired.com/2009/07/wrist-mounted-keyboard-has-us-all-in-a-froth to compose outgoing messages. $\endgroup$ Sep 27, 2021 at 0:22
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    $\begingroup$ When I put my hands on my hips, the kids know exactly what is being communicated without any sound. A huge amount of human communication is already nonverbal, and the situation makes it possible to clearly see all those nonverbal cues. $\endgroup$
    – user535733
    Sep 27, 2021 at 1:31
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    $\begingroup$ So you've got two spherical humans in a vacuum... $\endgroup$ Sep 27, 2021 at 3:09

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Some of the mechanisms underwater divers use seem like they would work for this situation:

  • Hand signals / sign language / semaphores. This was used in David Drake's RCN series extensively for crew that had to work outside the ship on the hull during FTL but could not use any electrical equipment since RF energy would send them off course.
  • Divers' slates on which they can write short messages
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Lip-reading.

Now this is something that people with hearing impairments and those working in noisy environments learn to do quite proficiently, and to a certain extent everyone does it from time to time.

A camera on the lips/tongue would be able to transmit the images to a person who translates the images into speech.

Alternatively, Google's Deep Dream technology is professed to be better than humans at it. (That was back in 2016, New Scientist's report states. Even better by now if they kept improving it.] This can be converted to speech and or text as necessary.

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  • $\begingroup$ I didn't realize it could be made that good, I thought there were sounds that couldn't be distinguished by lip reading. $\endgroup$ Sep 27, 2021 at 0:21
  • $\begingroup$ @LorenPechtel there may be, but ambiguities can be resolved from the content provided by the surrounding unambiguous symbols. NLP already involves a whole load of probabilistic modelling of language, so the tools for doing so are readily available. $\endgroup$ Sep 27, 2021 at 12:13
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Brain sensing headband. The person thinks about what he wants to communicate, headband picks it up, transmits it. Headband is calibrated to them, and forms the speech in their voice.

Incoming communication is passed to them in the same way, with brain waves, or through bone conduction, behind the ear.

Virtual keyboard, based on eye movement (like Stephen Hawking's). It could be built inside some special glasses, or a contact lens.

Incoming communication could be through the same interface in written form, or again, through bone conduction, through the glasses, or a separate headband, etc.

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AI supported communication.

For example: my smartwatch actually shows me some decent answers when being asked something on whatsapp. Often times I can just use the prompts to answer. Now an advanced AI could communicate for you. You could have any kind of wearable that reads things like pulse etc. and could calculate proper responses for you which you can choose on that wearable.

Going even a step further we could do something that might be even possible soon. An AI created from your personality which communicates for you completely. It can assess the situation through small cameras and knows exactly what you want to say.

Alternatively you can wear glasses which read your eye-movement and have something like Dr. Hawkings had.

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Sign language

Hand signs and an old standby when noise or need for silence prevents verbal communication. full blown sign language should work just fine as well, without suits the full range of motion is available. I could even see what starts as just a hand full of signs getting slowly expanded into a full blown sign language.

fire fighters, construction crews, soldiers, dive crews, air traffic control, and rescue crews already use hand signals.

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