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Technology has reached the point where brain wave translation is a possible thing to do. At least, this is what researchers at University of Utah are doing. Translating brain signals into words has been achieved and mark a great leap toward letting severely disabled people to speak out their thoughts, even if they are orally paralyzed.

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In short, researchers at University of Utah been experimenting on implanting tiny microelectrodes, called microECOGs, beneath the skull over the speech centers of the brain on a volunteer with severe epileptic seizures. These tiny microelectrodes is sit on top of the brain without jabbing into it.

Hopefully in the future, there will be no need to carry out craniotomy process in order to reach the top side of patients’ brain to implant the mind reading device.

Each of two grids with 16 microECoGs spaced 1 millimeter (about one-25th of an inch) apart, was placed over one of two speech areas of the brain: First, the facial motor cortex, which controls movements of the mouth, lips, tongue and face – basically the muscles involved in speaking. Second, Wernicke’s area, a little understood part of the human brain tied to language comprehension and understanding.And basically, the volunteer had a craniotomy or temporary removal of partial skull, where doctors could put bigger, conventional electrodes to locate the source of his seizures and surgically stop them.Because the microelectrodes do not penetrate brain matter, they are considered safe to place on speech areas of the brain – something that cannot be done with penetrating electrodes that have been used in experimental devices to help paralyzed people control a computer cursor or an artificial arm. Additionally, EEG electrodes used on the skull to record brain waves are too big and record too many brain signals to be used easily for decoding speech signals from paralyzed people.

It will surely a big leap in medical and human communication means when communication could be done simply using brain waves or signals.

[ Source: Gizmag ; Journal of Neural Engineering ; University of Utah ]


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