Mind Meld

Translating Thoughts Into Speech




Triff/Shutterstock.com

Scientists are trying to translate speech-paralyzed patients’ thoughts into speech using brain implants. The technique will potentially provide a brain/computer interface (BCI) to enable people with a spinal cord injury, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, stroke or other paralyzing conditions to “talk” again. Experts think a system that decodes whether a person is silently saying yes, no, hungry, pain or water is now within reach, thanks to parallel advances in neuroscience, engineering and machine learning. “We think we’re getting enough of an understanding of the brain signals that encode silent speech that we could soon make something practical,” says Brian Pasley, of the University of California, Berkeley.

The first BCI read electrical signals in the motor cortex corresponding to the intention to move, and used software to translate the signals into instructions to operate a computer cursor or robotic arm. In 2016, scientists at the University of Pittsburgh went a step further, adding sensors to a mind-controlled robotic arm so it produced sensations of touch.


This article appears in the February 2019 issue of Natural Awakenings.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

More from Natural Awakenings

Fish Revival

Following the removal two years ago of an obsolete dam, shad have returned to New Jersey’s Millstone River for the first time since 1845.

Horse Sense

The wild horse herds on North Carolina’s Outer Banks survived Hurricane Florence by huddling on high ground, hiding in maritime forests, and possibly by swimming.

Bat Cave Rescue

A fungus known as white-nose syndrome is decimating U.S. bat species, but scientists hope that genetic strategies and cave treatments will turn the situation around.

Bug Apocalypse

The number of invertebrates and insects such as moths, butterflies and bees has dropped worldwide by 45 percent in the last 35 years, raising alarm about the global ecosystem.

Tips for a Tree-Free Home

By switching to electronic bills, substituting cloth for paper napkins, and supporting tree-planting non-profits, we can help preserve the planet’s forests.

Add your comment:
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »This Month

Wellness Within Reach

Newton Chiropractic & Wellness Centre Business Spotlight
This year, Newtwon Chiropractic & Wellness Centre is pleased to welcome acupuncturist Alana Hammer, whose knowledge and skills provide yet another resource for NCWC’s patients.

Pints for Paws Fundraiser

Join other beer lovers from 6 to 9 p.m., July 13, for Pints for Paws, a fun event to support the Cold Noses Foundation.

Life-Changing Vision Quest Mitote in the Catskill Mountains

Join Janet StraightArrow from August 9 to 11 in a comfortable retreat house on beautiful, pristine land in Accord, New York, for a vision quest mitote.

Forest Bathing Retreat on Peddocks Island

Toadstool Walks, a forest bathing guide service based out of Boston, will offer forest bathing retreats on Peddocks Island on July 6 and August 11.

Flower Essences for Sexual Health and Wellness

Sacha Fossa of Sacred Temple Arts has now added flower essences to her array of tools for sexual wellness and healing.

Bringing the Body Back Into Balance

Maya Abdominal Therapy Spotlight
Maya abdominal massage is a supportive modality for people suffering from digestive and reproductive conditions.