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

More from Natural Awakenings

Fish Revival

Following the removal two years ago of an obsolete dam, shad have returned to New Jersey’s Millstone River for the first time since 1845.

Horse Sense

The wild horse herds on North Carolina’s Outer Banks survived Hurricane Florence by huddling on high ground, hiding in maritime forests, and possibly by swimming.

Bat Cave Rescue

A fungus known as white-nose syndrome is decimating U.S. bat species, but scientists hope that genetic strategies and cave treatments will turn the situation around.

Bug Apocalypse

The number of invertebrates and insects such as moths, butterflies and bees has dropped worldwide by 45 percent in the last 35 years, raising alarm about the global ecosystem.

Tips for a Tree-Free Home

By switching to electronic bills, substituting cloth for paper napkins, and supporting tree-planting non-profits, we can help preserve the planet’s forests.

Add your comment:
Edit ModuleShow Tags

See More »This Month

This Holiday Season, Keep It Local

Unwrap Chicago: Eat, Drink & Buy Local will educate Chicagoland residents about the community economic benefits of shopping at locally owned, independent businesses.

Nurturing the Natural Aging Process with

Some 2,000 years ago, the Chinese described the physiological stages of aging, as detailed in Huang Di Nei Jing, one of the bibles of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).

Two New Paths to Wellness

The Winter Wellness Plan is designed to strengthen the immune system and reduce both mental and physical stress, providing optimal immune support for the winter months in just two weeks.

Kudos

Lynn Hyndman has received the 2014 Charlotte Omohundro award, given annually by the Evanston Environmental Association (EEA) board of directors to a person or organization with an outstanding record of environmental stewardship and community service

Community Acupuncture Available at an Affordable Cost

Nirvana Naturopathics is offering a new Community Acupuncture program with owner Lana Moshkovich, LAc, ND, DiplOM, beginning October 1.

The Wheel of Co-Creation

The Wheel of Co-Creation, created by renowned thought leader Barbara Marx Hubbard, is a “whole system” worldview that identifies 12 sectors of endeavor in an active, healthy and functioning society.