A brain implant that can read thoughts and convert them into speech. This was developed by scientists from the University of California, who hope that the new technology will help people with speech disorders due to various diseases.
A new brain implant, developed by scientists from the University of California, could help people who have been disrupted by the disease or those who have become ill, for example, Parkinson’s disease, throat cancer, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. The new technology could thus completely change the lives of people who need to rely on extremely slow communication methods due to different conditions of the disease. Speech synthesizers, such as those used by Stephen Hawking, are usually based on spelling words by letter, and for an average, an individual can pronounce eight words on average – for example, in a natural speech, a person speaks 100 to 150 words per minute.
Implantation is supposed to turn brain activity or thought into speech. “For the first time in history … we can create complete strikes based on the individual’s brain activity,” for The Guardiandejal Edward Chang, professor of neurosurgery at the University.
Chang and his team focused their focus on the brain section, sending instructions to adjust the language, lips, jaws, and throat operation during speech. As described in a scientific article published in the journal Nature, the technology works by inserting a special electrode into said part of the brain, where it records electrical signals. The result is a synthesized speech.
A team of scientists helped with the development of five volunteers who were just before surgery due to epilepsy. Prior to surgery, they temporarily inserted an electrode to plot the whereabouts of the attacks. When electrodes were inserted, patients had to read aloud hundreds of sentences, and scientists in the meantime recorded brain activity from the area of the brain, which is important in the development of speech. “We asked them only to read a few sentences,” Chang said. “It’s a very natural act, which the brain itself transforms into motion.”
The goal was clear: to decipher two-stage speech – translate electrical signals into the brain into speech movements, and then translate these movements into spoken voices. Sound recordings of speech sound like a normal human voice, but someone with a foreign accent. The converter also has problem letters such as b and p.
But the first criticism has come to light – many scientists point to the ethical aspect of a brain device that can read thoughts. A Chang says that the decoding of thoughts for now is still too difficult, which is why they focused on what “people actually want to say”.
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