A study conducted by Dr. Edward Chang from the University of California developed a device, which could interpret people’s brain waves. This way, a person suffering from several conditions could communicate. This is exciting news because paralyzed people have limited ways of communicating.
The groundwork for the study
So far, paralyzed people with brain prosthetics and an artificial limb are able to imagine they are moving that body part and the brain signal makes the artificial limb move. Another method is using devices that can detect eye movement, and so, they can communicate pinpointing to letters on a screen. An article mentions the study and explains researchers have been trying to find more accessible and faster communication methods for paralyzed people. Dr. Chang’s idea for the study was to create some type of neuroprosthetic that would connect with the muscles responsible for the actual speech process. This meant that together with his team, they had to study brain waves and determine the ones responsible for speech movements. The muscles involved in the speaking process make small movements, and they are not as visible. We are talking about the muscles of the tongue, jaw, larynx, lips and tongue.
The study used computer analysis.
The study used a research subject who has been paralyzed for more than 15 years, and they gave him an electrode implant inside the brain part responsible for speech. Then, a computer analyzed when that person tried to speak different words and recognized more than 50 words. Although it takes up to 4 seconds for the words to appear on the screen, the process is much faster than any other option available at the moment. The news is great for those out there who are not able to freely communicate with their loved ones and care providers due to paralysis.