Researchers from the University of California, San Francisco have developed a "speech neuroprosthesis" - a device that has allowed a person with paralysis to communicate in a new way. The device translates brain signals into words on a monitor in front of the user.
According to Professor Edward Chang, a neurosurgeon and senior author of the study, this is the first successful demonstration of direct decoding of complete words from the brain activity of a person who is paralyzed and unable to speak.
Every year thousands of people lose their ability to speak because of a stroke, accident or illness. With further development, the approach described in this study may one day allow these people to communicate fully.
Looking ahead, the developers say they are going to expand the study to include more participants suffering from severe paralysis and communication deficits. The team is currently working on increasing the number of words in the available vocabulary, as well as improving speech speed.
Cover: development authors - Jessie Liu, BS, David Moses, PhD, and Sean Metzger, MS