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Communicating With Machines Via Brain Activity
Communicating With Machines Via Brain Activity
It is possible to reconstruct basic units, words, and sentences of speech from brain waves and to generate the corresponding text.
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It has long been speculated that humans could communicate with machines via brain activity alone.

Speech is produced in the human cerebral cortex. Brain waves associated with speech processes can be directly recorded with electrodes located on the surface of the cortex.

As explained in the scientific journal Frontiers in Neuroscience, it has now been shown for the first time that it is possible to reconstruct basic units, words, and complete sentences of continuous speech from these brain waves and to generate the corresponding text.

The research was conducted by scientists at Germany's Karlsruhe Institute and America's Wadsworth Center. They found that both single units in terms of speech sounds, as well as continuously spoken sentences, can be recognized from brain activity.

These results were obtained by an interdisciplinary collaboration of researchers of informatics, neuroscience, and medicine. The researchers' work is the first that decodes continuously spoken speech and transforms it into a textual representation.

For this purpose, cortical information is combined with linguistic knowledge and machine learning algorithms to extract the most likely word sequence. Currently, Brain-to-Text is based on audible speech. However, the results are an important first step for recognizing speech from thought alone.

The brain activity was recorded from seven epileptic patients, who participated voluntarily in the study during their clinical treatments. An electrode array was placed on the surface of the cerebral cortex for their neurological treatment.

While patients read aloud sample texts, the signals were recorded with high resolution in time and space. Later, the researchers in Karlsruhe analyzed the data to develop Brain-to-Text.

In addition to basic science and a better understanding of the highly complex speech processes in the brain, Brain-to-Text might be a building block to develop a means of speech communication for locked-in patients in the future.

Stephen Hawking will be interested in this means of communication after his present system is no longer adequate.
Richard Grime, Analytical Technology, Inc.
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