Are we moving closer to mind reading? Facebook-funded study turns brain signals into text

new brain implant
Image: UCSF

With a radical new approach, doctors have found a way to extract a person’s speech directly from their brain. 

The breakthrough is the first to demonstrate how a person’s intention to say specific words can be gleaned from brain signals and turned into text fast enough to keep pace with natural conversation.

The work, funded by Facebook, was possible thanks to three epilepsy patients who were about to have neurosurgery for their condition. Before their operations went ahead, all three had a small patch of tiny electrodes placed directly on the brain for at least a week.

[Researcher Edward Chang] used the electrodes to record brain activity while each patient was asked nine set questions and asked to read a list of 24 potential responses.

Once trained, the software could identify almost instantly, and from brain signals alone, what question a patient heard and what response they gave, with an accuracy of 76% and 61% respectively.

Related article:  How the Hobbit films illustrate the way human brains evolved

Though rudimentary, the system allowed patients to answer questions about the music they liked; how well they were feeling; whether their room was too hot or cold, or too bright or dark; and when they would like to be checked on again.

Read full, original post: Neuroscientists decode brain speech signals into written text

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