Skip to main content

Breakthrough: sensors that can convert thoughts into speech

A mind reading machine has edged closer to reality after scientists found a way of converting thoughts into words.
Researchers were able to render brain signals into speech for the first time, relying on sensors attached to the brain surface.
The breakthrough, which is up to 90 percent accurate, will be a boon for paralysed patients who cannot speak and could help read anyone’s thoughts ultimately, reports the Telegraph.
“We were beside ourselves with excitement when it started working,” said Prof Bradley Greger, bioengineer at the Utah University who led the project. “It was just one of the moments when everything came together.
“We have been able to decode spoken words using only signals from the brain with a device that has promise for long-term use in paralysed patients who cannot speak. I would call it brain reading and we hope that in two or three years it will be available for use for paralysed patients.”
The breakthrough came when the team attached two button-sized grids of 16 tiny electrodes to an epileptic’s brain’s speech centres, says the journal of Neural Engineering.
The patient had part of his skull removed for another operation to treat his condition.
Using electrodes, the scientists recorded brain signals in a computer as the patient repeatedly read each of 10 words that might be useful to a paralysed person: yes, no, hot, cold, hungry, thirsty, hello, goodbye, more and less.
Then they got him to repeat the words to the computer and it was able to match the brain signals for each word 76 percent to 90 percent of the time.
The computer picked up the patient’s brain waves as he talked and did not use any voice recognition software.
Because just thinking a word is enough to produce the same brain signals, Prof. Greger and his team believe that soon they will be able to have translation device and voice box that repeats the word you are thinking.
Besides, the brains of paralysed people are just as healthy and produce the same signals as those in physically-fit people - it is just they are blocked by injury from reaching the muscle.
Researchers said the method needs improvement, but could lead in a few years to clinical trials on paralysed people who cannot speak due to so-called “locked-in” syndrome.
“This is proof of concept,” Prof. Greger said adding: “We’ve proven these signals can tell you what the person is saying well above chance.”


Popular posts from this blog

Top 5 Women Who Impacted Technology in 2010

Katie Stanton, International Strategist for Twitter Katie Stanton has impressively long names of companies in her resume. They include the White House, Google Inc, and her latest addition is Twitter. Her remit is working on Twitter’s international strategy and her experience in social media will be a key asset to the company. Katie has a history of working in technology, and her knowledge of departmental laws will help Twitter work alongside government agencies, as she’ll be spearheading the free information approach, especially after the Wikileaks incident. Stanton has been a key player in the techsphere for some time, and this extends to her private life. Following the Haiti disaster she worked with a group of engineers to create a free texting service to help those in need and she is constantly in demand as an expert in both social media and government policy.
Caterina Fake, Co-Founder of Flickr and Hunch Despite having a surname which sounds like a pseudonym for a spy (it’…

AT&T MiFi 2372 review

In the week or so that I have been testing the AT&T MiFi 2372 by Novatel Wireless, it has already saved no less than three lives. First, it saved my cable guy’s life. You see, Time Warner Cable provides the worst home Internet service I have ever experienced. I can’t even think of a close second. If providing terrible home Internet service was a sport, Time Warner Cable would be on its tenth consecutive undefeated season. Forget the fact that my upload speed is capped at 60Kbps and I’m lucky if I can get half that — it has been months since I’ve gone through a full day without at least one service interruption. Months. Unfortunately, Time Warner Cable has an exclusive contract with my building so I have no choice but to endure its abysmal service. Last week, as a Time Warner Cable technician entered my home for the sixth time in two months, I realized that this certainly would have spelled serious trouble had it not been for my trusty new back up device. Before the Mi…

facebook vs google+