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  • Mal McCallion

Revolutionary Brain Implants Give Voice to the Voiceless

Updated: Dec 11, 2023

Imagine a world where those who've lost their ability to speak can communicate again, thanks to the wonders of Artificial Intelligence (AI).

Brace yourselves because that world is now a reality!

Two cutting-edge technologies have surfaced, both capable of decoding intended words from brain activity. These devices have enabled two individuals to 'speak' for the first time in over a decade, transforming neural activity into text with remarkable speed and accuracy. The results? Speech produced from brain activity with about 75% accuracy and at a speed nearly half that of natural language. Impressive, right?

The first study, led by neurosurgeon Edward Chang of UC San Francisco, involved an implant doubling the number of electrodes and an improved algorithm for predicting words from brain signals. This system was tested on a woman named Ann, who had lost her ability to convey motor signals due to a stroke 18 years ago. The results were astonishing, with a 95% accuracy rate in matching Ann's neural activity to the word she was trying to pronounce.

The second study, led by neural prosthetics researcher Frank Willett at Stanford University, used a different type of electrode array. This array, much smaller than the previous one, poked further into the brain to measure the firing of individual neurons at close range and high resolution. The system was tested on Pat Bennett, who has the neurodegenerative disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. The results were similarly impressive, with a 91% accuracy rate when Bennett attempted to read from a set of 50 words.

The beauty of these technologies lies in their potential to be developed into commercially viable medical devices. Imagine a world where people unable to speak can express their thoughts in near-real time, using AI avatars in online meetings. Or a world where individuals with neurodegenerative diseases can communicate their needs with over 75% accuracy.

These breakthroughs in AI technology are not just game-changers; they are life-changers. And with the rapid advancements in AI, who knows what other miracles we might witness in the future? So, keep an eye on this space, because the future of AI is here, and it's truly exciting!

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