It might seem like something that you do effortlessly, but verbally communication is not as easy as it looks for people with speech disabilities caused by neurological impairments. However, a new medical is translating brain signals into speech, so, soon enough, people with those kinds of disorders would be able to talk once again like everyone else.
Scientists from the University of California San Francisco came up with a so-called neurological decoder, a device that translates brain signals produced when people move lips, tongue, jaw, and larynx into speech. The device is undoubtedly a revolutionary system, and it paves the way towards a manufactured version of an individual’s voice which would be reproduced by the device from the brain activity in the speech centers of the cortex.
According to scientists, the new medical device that’s translating brain signals into speech has positive results in laboratory experiments. If that would also be the case in further clinical trials, the tool might become useful for people with speech disabilities from around the world.
Translating Brain Signals Into Speech Is Now Possible Thanks To A New Medical Device
“We are tapping into the parts of the brain that control these movements—we are trying to decode movements, rather than speech directly. The study that we did was involving people having neurosurgery. We are really not aware of currently available noninvasive technology that could allow you to do this from outside the head. Believe me, if it did exist it would have profound medical applications,” Edward Chang, the study’s leader, claimed.
At the moment, the medical device was tested on five patients with epilepsy. The researchers implanted electrodes in those patients’ brains and registered the brain signals generated when the subjects read about 100 sentences aloud.
Those signals were then uploaded into a computer program that the scientists created. The software is, in reality, a model of the human vocal system, and it managed to reproduce speech by translating brain signals. The new medical device is promising for people with speech disabilities, but it’s still in its early stages of development.