Mind Reading Machine Translates Brain Activity Into Words

September 10th, 2010 - 2:34 am ICT by Angela Kaye Mason  

Sep 9 (THAINDIAN NEWS) Reading a person’s mind may soon be following in the footsteps of so many ideas which have made their way out of science fiction and into reality. Scientists at the University of Utah have been working on a way to read the brain activity of a person in order to translate those signals into words, and thus, reading the mind.

These doctors implanted small electrodes on to the brain of a man who suffered from severe epileptic seizures. A statement released by the University said, “Scientists recorded brain signals as the patient repeatedly read each of 10 words that might be useful to a paralyzed person: yes, no, hot, cold, hungry, thirsty, hello, goodbye, more and less.”

“Later, they tried figuring out which brain signals represented each of the 10 words. When they compared any two brain signals - such as those generated when the man said the words ‘yes’ and ‘no’ - they were able to distinguish brain signals for each word 76 percent to 90 percent of the time.”

The results were not so good when the scientists tried to translate all of the signals at the same time. The accuracy then dropped to 28 percent.

Bradley Gregor, an assistant professor of bioengineering stated, “This is proof of concept. We’ve proven these signals can tell you what the person is saying well above chance. But we need to be able to do more words with more accuracy before it is something a patient really might find useful,” according to ‘CBS’.

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