Researchers test a brain implant system that allows paralyzed men to speak

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With advances in technology and neuroscience, researchers are now experimenting with various experiments to harness the power of the human brain. So a team of neuroscientists at the University of California, San Francisco has developed a system that allows paralyzed individuals to read and speak about brain activity.

This system uses electrode implants in the paralyzed person’s brain to record brain activity as they try to speak and answer questions. It then decodes the electrical signal from the brain and displays the full text on the computer screen.

Well, if you’re wondering, it’s not as easy as it sounds. To test the system, UCSF researchers surgically implanted a high-density electrode array within the speech motor cortex of a paralyzed man. Called BRAVO1.. Then they connected the implant to the computer system through the port on his head.

Following this, researchers spent 22 hours daily for several months recording male brain activity while he was trying. Speak a list of 50 common words such as “good”, “family”, “water”.. After the recording session, a custom neural network model was used to distinguish neural signals to detect and identify which word BRAVO1 was trying to say when speaking.

The researchers then asked participants to say various short sentences containing the words they learned. The system then decoded the words from his neural activity and displayed a fully formed sentence on the screen. In addition, the researchers also conducted a question-and-answer session with BRAVO1 and asked BRAVO1 the following simple questions. “how are you?” In response, a new brain-focused system was displayed “I am very good” On the screen. You can check out the video of the experiment just below.

The researchers believe this is the first time the technical system has been able to decipher the brain activity of a paralyzed man who is unable to speak in full text. “It shows a strong promise to restore communication by utilizing the natural speech mechanism of the brain.” Says Edward Chan, a neurosurgeon at the University of California, San Francisco.

In addition, previous experiments of this kind Use a spell-based or character-based approach.. Meanwhile, Chang’s team uses a more natural aspect of voice to enable the system to function. “Speech usually conveys information at a very high speed of up to 150 or 200 words per minute. As we do here, going straight to words is the way we normally speak. It’s close, so it has a big advantage. “ Chan added further.

Now, while the new electrode-based system is more advanced than the previous method, it’s worth mentioning that it’s not completely error-free. During the BRAVO1 experiment, the system was able to decode words with a median accuracy of 74% at 15 words / minute, reaching approximately 93% accuracy at 18 words / minute.

Going forward, the UCSF team will strive to improve the system and improve its accuracy rate. When fully developed, researchers believe that the system can fully restore communication to unfortunate people who have lost the ability to speak.