Mind Meld

Translating Thoughts Into Speech




Triff/Shutterstock.com

Scientists are trying to translate speech-paralyzed patients’ thoughts into speech using brain implants. The technique will potentially provide a brain/computer interface (BCI) to enable people with a spinal cord injury, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, stroke or other paralyzing conditions to “talk” again. Experts think a system that decodes whether a person is silently saying yes, no, hungry, pain or water is now within reach, thanks to parallel advances in neuroscience, engineering and machine learning. “We think we’re getting enough of an understanding of the brain signals that encode silent speech that we could soon make something practical,” says Brian Pasley, of the University of California, Berkeley.

The first BCI read electrical signals in the motor cortex corresponding to the intention to move, and used software to translate the signals into instructions to operate a computer cursor or robotic arm. In 2016, scientists at the University of Pittsburgh went a step further, adding sensors to a mind-controlled robotic arm so it produced sensations of touch.


This article appears in the February 2019 issue of Natural Awakenings.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Related Content

Bringing Up Kitty

Adorable as new kittens are, they need the right conditions, from bedding to food to scratching surfaces—and a proper introduction to their new home—to thrive.

Loving Nature

In a time in which digital devices often rule, kids will happily head outdoors for adventures involving gardens, bugs and birds that spark their interest and creativity.

Potluck for the 21st Century

Using phone apps as well as workplace and neighborhood contacts, friends and strangers are coming together to share healthy, home-cooked meals.

Household Cleaning Products Affect Babies’ Guts and Weight

Canadian toddlers in households that used chemical disinfectants at least once a week had disturbed gut microbes and higher body mass index scores than toddlers in households that used vinegar or other eco-friendly cleaners.

Smoking Bans Lower Blood Pressure

Non-smokers in areas that have banned smoking in public space have lower systolic blood pressure.

Add your comment: