May 26, 2024

Man with “locked-in” syndrome may speak through machine

Electrodes implanted in brain could start conversation

Scientists are on the brink of translating into words the thoughts of a brain-damaged man who cannot speak. Scientists at Boston University have implanted electrodes into the brain of Eric Ramsay, who has been “locked in” after a car accident eight years ago — conscious but completely paralysed. With the electrodes, they have been recording pulses in the regions of the brain involved in speech. “Conversation is what we’re hoping for, but we’re pretty far from that,” says Joe Wright, of Neural Signals, a company which helped to develop the technology. However, researchers acknowledge that they are very distant from mind-reading machines. “It’s very exciting that we are starting to be able to translate some basic thoughts, but we are a lot further away from a universal mind reading machine than some people hoped — or feared — five years ago,” said Professor John Dylan Haynes, of the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and brain Science. ~ BBC, Nov 15

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