[REGIONAL NEWS] Neuroscientists decode brain speech signals into written text

The study recording brain signals sent to trigger organ movement is considered a breakthrough. /Photograph: yacobchuk/Getty/iStockphoto

Study funded by Facebook aims to improve communication with paralyzed patients

Ian Sample | The Guardian

Doctors have turned the brain signals for speech into written sentences in a research project that aims to transform how patients with severe disabilities communicate in the future.

The breakthrough is the first to demonstrate how the intention to say specific words can be extracted from brain activity and converted into text rapidly enough to keep pace with natural conversation.

In its current form, the brain-reading software works only for certain sentences it has been trained on, but scientists believe it is a stepping stone towards a more powerful system that can decode in real time the words a person intends to say.

Doctors at the University of California in San Francisco took on the challenge in the hope of creating a product that allows paralysed people to communicate more fluidly than using existing devices that pick up eye movements and muscle twitches to control a virtual keyboard.

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