Speech Neuroprosthetic Restores Paralyzed Man’s Ability to Speak, but Privacy Concerns Abound
We often take our ability to communicate with others for granted. The ability to verbally say “hi” or “I love you” isn’t something we think about every day. However, for those without the ability to speak, such a thing would be world-changing.
That change is upon us.
Researchers at UC San Francisco have succeeded in giving speech to a man denied that ability. Affected by severe paralysis and unable to form words at all, the man could communicate through a new speech “neuroprosthetic”. The device could translate brainwaves from the man’s brain to his vocal tract and then display that communication on a monitor.
According to the study, which was published in July 2021, the authors stated, “We decoded sentences from the participant’s cortical activity in real-time at a median rate of 15.2 words per minute, with a median word error rate of 25.6%. In post hoc analysis, we detected 98% of the attempts by the participant to produce individual words, and we classified words with 47.1% accuracy using cortical signals that were table throughout the 81-week study period.”