With the help of a brain implant and artificial intelligence (AI), people who have lost their ability to speak may now be able to verbally communicate once again.
“It is now possible to imagine a future where we can restore fluid conversation to someone with paralysis, enabling them to freely say whatever they want to say with an accuracy high enough to be understood reliably,” says Frank Willet, a research scientist at Stanford University.
Two recent studies have successfully allowed mute patients to communicate once again with the help of AI. The AI algorithm is able to translate brain signals into words with a 75 percent accuracy rate. Using photographs and old video recordings, scientists can even make the digital avatar look and sound like the patient. These devices are still in the early stages, with researchers indicating the need to make them both wireless and portable for them to be useful in day-to-day life. Nonetheless, the studies are very promising, with the co-author of the study and neurosurgeon at the California, San Francisco School of Medicine Edward Chang emphasizing that “these advancements bring us much closer to making this a real solution for patients.”