In a world’s first, neuroengineers from Columbia University have built a device that translates thoughts into recognizable speech.
“We found that people could understand and repeat the sounds about 75% of the time, which is well above and beyond any previous attempts,” Mesgarani said. “The sensitive vocoder and powerful neural networks represented the sounds the patients had originally listened to with surprising accuracy.”
Right now, the system only translates thoughts as a person listens to speech, but the researchers plan to see if they can replicate the study while having a person speak or think about speaking — no listening involved.
“In this scenario, if the wearer thinks ‘I need a glass of water,’ our system could take the brain signals generated by that thought, and turn them into synthesized, verbal speech,” Mesgarani said. “This would be a game changer. It would give anyone who has lost their ability to speak, whether through injury or disease, the renewed chance to connect to the world around them.”
READ MORE: Columbia Engineers Translate Brain Signals Directly Into Speech [Columbia University]
More on speech: New Brain Implant Could Translate Paralyzed People’s Thoughts Into Speech
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