Brain Activity Decoded To Produce Words, Could Produce Method of Mind-Reading
February 1, 2012 1:30 PM
comment(s) - last by
electrodes placed on the brain
New method could help those incapable of speech
At some point in the near future,
mind-reading could be a power
possessed not only by fictional characters like Professor Charles Xavier (Professor X), but also real-life researchers who are searching for ways to help individuals who have lost their ability to speak.
Robert Knight, of the Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute at the University of California - Berkeley, and Brian Pasley, a scientist in Knight's lab at UC Berkeley, have successfully translated brain activity into words.
The team was able to do this by recruiting the cooperation of 15 patients, who were already in the hospital for intractable epilepsy treatment. This particular operation requires removal of the top of the patient's skull, where a net of electrodes are then placed along the surface of the brain. The
electrodes identify the origin areas of the patient's fit
, and that particular tissue is eliminated.
The 15 patients were each played different words aloud for five or 10 minutes. While the words were played, the brain activity of each patient was recorded via the electrode nets. As it turns out, the brain managed to break down sounds into different acoustic frequencies, where the range of speech is 1-8,000 Hertz.
Later, new words would be played to the patients in order to see if familiar words could be identified and repeated. According to the researchers, they received accurate results from recordings in the superior temporal gyrus, which is part of the brain on one side above the ear. While some words could be identified, it was difficult to recognize others, showing that the area of mind reading definitely needs more research.
"This is exciting in terms of the basic science of how the brain decodes what we hear," said Knight. "Potentially, the technique could be used to develop an implantable prosthetic device to aid speaking, and for some patients that would be wonderful. The next step is to test whether we can decode a word when a person imagines it. That might sound spooky, but this could really help patients. Perhaps in 10 years it will be as common as grandmother getting a new hip."
One issue that was brought up in regards to this form of mind reading is the possibility of it being used to interrogate criminals. However, Knight said this would be near impossible since the skull needs to be removed and cooperation of the patient is needed in order for it to work.
Other potential issues that researchers may run into with mind reading is distinguishing between private thoughts and what the person really wants to say.
This isn't UC Berkeley's first crack at the concept of mind-reading. Last September, Jack Gallant and Shinji Nishimoto from UC Berkeley used fMRI and computational models to
decipher and reconstruct movies from the minds of patients
. They were able to successfully rebuild the human visual experience by piecing together videos from the mind.
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
2/1/2012 3:30:45 PM
I doubt this machine will have any real impact. It cannot distinguish between spoken and thought words, but that says nothing of which word you choose to think.
If i knew what i say to myself in my head gets recorded, ill simply say different things to myself in my head.
When they start to be able to transmit feelings and complete thoughts, then we can talk privacy. When you can hear the words i'm thinking, with the feeling that i don't trust you and this isn't the truth, that's when it's dangerous.
One thing i've learned as somebody with a communication disorder it's that it doesn't matter what you say when other people think you are lieing. Even if you're trying to tell the honest truth.
"Paying an extra $500 for a computer in this environment -- same piece of hardware -- paying $500 more to get a logo on it? I think that's a more challenging proposition for the average person than it used to be." -- Steve Ballmer
IBM's "5 in 5" Predicts the Launch of Mind-Reading Devices by 2017
December 20, 2011, 2:26 PM
Adjustable Brain Implant Could Identify Seizure Origins, Shut it Down
November 14, 2011, 3:21 PM
Researchers One Step Closer to Mind-Reading with Brain Imaging Research
September 23, 2011, 12:27 PM
Swarm of GMO Mosquitoes Set to Fly in South Florida
January 27, 2015, 6:40 PM
Crowdfunded Sex Toy Lets You Control the Action From Your Wii Nunchuk
January 15, 2015, 3:42 PM
Elon Musk Plays Warcraft; But Still Finds Time to Sleep, Build a Mars Colony Ship
January 6, 2015, 9:54 PM
SpaceX Scrubs Falcon 9 Launch to ISS, Barge Landing Test, Friday Redo Targeted
January 6, 2015, 4:02 PM
Quick Note; Wreckage of Malaysian-Owned Passenger Jet Found
December 30, 2014, 12:42 PM
Quick Note: Drone Loses Fight to the Death With Kangaroo
December 23, 2014, 3:28 PM
Most Popular Articles
Under the Hood: How DirectX 11.3 and 12 Will Supercharge Windows 10 Gaming
January 23, 2015, 12:34 PM
Microsoft Shows Off Latest Windows 10 Build, Preps it for Next Week Release
January 21, 2015, 2:57 PM
BlackBerry CEO Claims Devs are Violating Net Neutrality by Not Supporting BB10
January 22, 2015, 4:37 PM
2016 Cadillac CTS-V Packs 640 hp Punch with 200 mph Reach
January 23, 2015, 3:25 PM
Will Google Become America's Fifth Major Carrier?
January 22, 2015, 12:42 PM
Latest Blog Posts
Sceptre Airs 27", 120 Hz. 1080p Monitor/HDTV w/ 5 ms Response Time for $220
Dec 3, 2014, 10:32 PM
Costco Gives Employees Thanksgiving Off; Wal-Mart Leads "Black Thursday" Charge
Oct 29, 2014, 9:57 PM
"Bear Selfies" Fad Could Turn Deadly, Warn Nevada Wildlife Officials
Oct 28, 2014, 12:00 PM
The Surface Mini That Was Never Released Gets "Hands On" Treatment
Sep 26, 2014, 8:22 AM
ISIS Imposes Ban on Teaching Evolution in Iraq
Sep 17, 2014, 5:22 PM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2015 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information