The GLP is committed to full transparency. Download and review our Annual Report.

The GLP is committed to full transparency. Download and review our Annual Report.

Converting thought to speech: Brain implants could help paralyzed patients communicate

| | December 7, 2018

[Neurosurgeon Ashesh Mehta] was operating on [an] epilepsy patient to determine the source of seizures. But the patient agreed to something more: to be part of an audacious experiment whose ultimate goal is to translate thoughts into speech.

While he was in there, Mehta carefully placed a flat array of microelectrodes on the left side of the brain’s surface, over areas involved in both listening to and formulating speech. By eavesdropping on the electrical impulses that crackle through the gray matter when a person hears in the “mind’s ear” what words he intends to articulate (often so quickly it’s barely conscious), then transmitting those signals wirelessly to a computer that decodes them, the electrodes and the rest of the system hold the promise of being the first “brain-computer interface” to go beyond movement and sensation.

Related article:  Your brain has its own unique ‘functional fingerprint’

If all goes well, it will conquer the field’s Everest: developing a brain-computer interface that could enable people with a spinal cord injury, locked-in syndrome, ALS, or other paralyzing condition to talk again.

“We think we’re getting enough of an understanding of the brain signals that encode silent speech that we could soon make something practical,” said Brian Pasley of the University of California, Berkeley. “Even something modest could be meaningful to patients. I’m convinced it’s possible.”

Read full, original post: With brain implants, scientists hope to translate paralyzed patients’ thoughts into speech

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Click the link above to read the full, original article.
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
Optional. Mail on special occasions.

Send this to a friend