A FB funded study is going to brighten the future of the speech impaired lot! A new plan to create a device that uses machine learning algorithms to translate brain thoughts into speech has been developed by the study. The findings of the study are printed in ‘Nature Communications’.
The first trials were conducted on epilepsy patients and FB feels that the findings will go towards developing a device that will be totally non-invasive and have a processing speed of 100 words per minute.
One of the study authors said that this approach was different from the earlier approaches as this has considered both aspects; the question and answer parts of a conversation.
He explained that in the context of speech impaired patients; currently muscle twitches and lasting eye movements helped them to spell out words slowly as they interacted with a computer interface. However, a fluent speech flow already existed in the brains of some of them and some form of technology was required for it to flow out.
At the moment, the study involved use of limited vocabulary though researchers hoped to enhance the exactness and flexibility of the speech translated from activity in the brain in the future.
A FB blog stated that the ultimate aim of the researchers was to attain 100 words per minute decoding speed using a vocabulary of 1000 words and a less than 17% word inaccuracy rate.
In this context, Neuralink Company owned by Elon Musk has sought approval from the US regulators for beginning the testing of its brain-hacking gadget on humans.
However, not all are very happy with the progress of research in this context. Some are questioning the ethics of this research path and the repercussions it can have in the future. Neuro-ethicist Prof. Nita Farahany had to say that for her, there was no safer place for freedom of opinion, of dreams and for disagreement than an individual’s brain.
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