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Researchers Develop New Brain Implants That Read Words From Thoughts

Researchers have developed new brain implants that read words from thoughts. People who have lost the capacity to speak or type due to paralysis or another medical condition may communicate with others via the use of a brain implant that translates their thoughts into outward signals. At the annual conference of the Society for Neuroscience on November 13, researchers presented the findings of two trials that "give fresh evidence of the amazing potential" of brain implants for reestablishing lost connection.

Tyrese Griffin
Nov 17, 20224033 Shares64021 Views
Researchers have developed new brain implants that read words from thoughts. People who have lost the capacity to speak or type due to paralysis or another medical condition may communicate with others via the use of a brain implant that translates their thoughts into outward signals.
At the annual conference of the Society for Neuroscience on November 13, researchers presented the findings of two trials that "give fresh evidence of the amazing potential" of brain implants for reestablishing the lost connection.

How Does This Work?

Devices that need just little motions, like B, are now available and are helping some individuals who previously had trouble talking. Shifts in viewpoint. Not everyone is capable of doing these actions. Because it requires no effort on the part of the subject, inner language has been the focus of recent research.
Our device predicts internal speech directly, allowing the patient to just focus on saying a word inside their head and transform it into text,” says Sarah Wandelt, a neuroscientist at Caltech. Internal speech “could be much simpler and more intuitive than requiring the patient to spell out words or mouth them.- Sarah Wandelt, Caltech
Electrodes placed in the brain are able to record the neural impulses associated with speech. In this way, computer programs that produce speech may turn the impulses into sounds.
Hochberg of Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston and Brown University in Providence, RI calls this method really exciting and adds to the power of bringing together fundamental neuroscience, neuroengineering, and machine learning approaches to communication and mobility recovery.
Researchers led by Wandt and his team were able to correctly guess which of eight phrases a paralyzed subject was considering. Bilingual studies confirmed that the guy could understand both English and Spanish.
In the posterior parietal cortex, a region of the brain critical for language and motor control, the electrodes picked up electrical activity from nerve cells. Wandt speculates that in the future, implants in that area of the brain might be utilized to operate machines that can execute jobs that would otherwise need two hands.
Alternatively, neurologist Sean Metzger and his colleagues at the University of California, San Francisco used a spelling-based method. Pancho, the guy taking part, has been unable to communicate for almost 15 years due to a vehicle accident and a stroke. Instead of using letters in the new experiment, Pancho attempted using code words, such as "alpha" for A and "echo" for E, that he spoke under his breath.
Words like "I don't want it" and "You must be joking" came from the guy stringing together those code letters, and each spelling session ended when the man tried to grip his hand, triggering a movement-related brain signal that stopped decoding. The results presented at the neuroscientific symposium were also published in nature communication on November 8.
Pancho was able to write at a rate of roughly seven words per minute using this method. That's far slower than the average speaking rate of approximately 150 words per minute but quicker than his existing communications device's maximum of around five words per minute. Metzger adds, "That's the pace we'd want to attain someday."
The existing methods need to be improved upon by becoming quicker and more precise if they are to be of any value. Whether or if the technology will help others, such as those with more severe speech impairments, is still unknown. Currently, "the technologies are still in their infancy," as Hochberg puts it.
The field will continue to benefit from the incredible people who enroll in clinical trials, as their participation is absolutely vital to the successful translation of these early findings into clinical utility.- Hochberg

“Neuroprosthesis” Restores Words to Man with Paralysis

Final Words

Scientists have created a brain-computer interface that can interpret brain signals from individuals while they are contemplating handwriting and display the resulting letters on a screen. The researchers are hopeful that their technology may be used to improve the rate at which persons with paralysis are able to exchange information.
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