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

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.

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.

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

New Children’s Book Focuses on Creativity

Author Lynda Hope Dresher, also known as Lynda Hope, created the concept for her Creativity series more than 35 years ago.

How Juicing Can Help Us Lose Weight and Get Healthy . . .

We start the new year and our January Health and Wellness issue by getting to know some of the local juice suppliers in our special Juice section.

Evanston Green Ball to be at Levy Center

The Evanston Environmental Association and the City of Evanston will host the 2nd Annual Evanston Green Ball at the Levy Center in Evanston.

Zen Shiatsu

Based on thousands of years of Eastern philosophy and healing, Shiatsu is a distinctive form of bodywork that provides the nurturing satisfaction of touch with a unique energy balancing experience.

Teen Spa Yoga Class in Evanston

Marissa Casey, a teens and kids yoga specialist, will facilitate an evening of inner and outer beauty, at Heaven Meets Earth Yoga, in Evanston.

New Book on Child Rearing from the Hinmans

Local authors and family health experts Mike and Amanda Hinman, of the Hinman Holistic Health Institute, recently released a new book, Vibrant Child: 7 Steps To Increase Your Child’s Health & Happiness.