A computer that interprets and reproduces neural implant signals has enabled a 36-year old man who suffered paralysis and speech impairments since he was 20, to be able to communicate with his family.
The New England Journal of Medicine published a study that describes how American researchers created this miracle of science using a quadriparesis patient. He is unable control his motor function and has anarthria. This is his brain injury which causes him to not be able to speak.
According to the study, the man can produce “grunts or groans”, but not understandable speech. Pam Belluck, a reporter for The New York Times, states in her article about this study that Pancho is the patient’s name and that the first sentence that he has sent through the computer is “My family is out.”
This groundbreaking study found that Pancho had a brain implant that could recognize nerve signals. The electrode measures 6.7 cm in length and has been collecting brain data since almost 2 years.
The researchers recorded 22 hours worth of activity in the cerebral cortex during 48 sessions that were held over 81 weeks at Pancho’s home or nearby office. Pancho attempted to answer questions.
Pancho sat in front of a computer connected to his implant through a cable. He read the questions and phrases on the screen and tried to find an answer.
Deep learning algorithms and artificial intelligence algorithms have enabled deep learning to create computational models that can detect these words and classify them based on recorded brain activity patterns.
David Moses, one the study’s authors has explained to The New York Times, “His system translates brain activity that would normally control his vocal tract to emit words or phrases.”
The brain-computer junction doesn’t need cables anymore: paralyzed patients can write on a screen by simply thinking
The video of the investigation can be viewed on The New England Journal’s website. The patient is shown connected via the brain implant, and sitting in front of a blackscreen in a red chair.
The screen displays a phrase in English that reads “Good Morning” before it appears an “Hello” from Pancho’s brain. The conversation continues with the computer asking “How are you?”
After a few seconds, Pancho emits a number of incomprehensible sounds. It reads: “I am… very… It’s fine.
The authors mention in the preface to their research that technology can “restore the communicative abilities of someone with paralysis” as well as the potential for this to “improve autonomy, quality of life.”
While other studies have attempted to eliminate wires in order to study brain signals, Elon Musk attempts to connect people to machines using a small chip implanted into the skull that can read brain activity.
Pancho’s life is now better because of this research. The scientific world continues to improve so that more people can benefit from the discoveries in the future
Hi, my name's Craig Malloy. I'm a tec blogger. Well, actually, I'm a computer analyst. Sounds boring, but the background behind it isn't. I work for a firm in South Carolina and in my spare time I like to write about technology. Actually, I like to write posts and publish them on my blog all about technology.
I studied computing at University and have progressed in my technological career ever since.
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