This photo shows two kinds of electrodes sitting atop a severely epileptic patient's brain
after part of his skull was removed temporarily.
SCIENTISTS DECODE WORDS FROM BRAIN SIGNALS
(September 7, 2010) In an early step toward letting severely paralyzed people speak with their thoughts, University of Utah researchers translated brain signals into words using two grids of 16 microelectrodes implanted beneath the skull but atop the brain.
"We have been able to decode spoken words using only signals from the brain with a device that has promise for long-term use in paralyzed patients who cannot now speak," says Bradley Greger, an assistant professor of bioengineering.
Because the method needs much more improvement and involves placing electrodes on the brain, he expects it will be a few years before clinical trials on paralyzed people who cannot speak due to so-called "locked-in syndrome."
The Journal of Neural Engineering's September issue is publishing Greger's study showing the feasibility of translating brain signals into computer-spoken words.
The University of Utah research team placed grids of tiny microelectrodes over speech centers in the brain of a volunteer with severe epileptic seizures. The man already had a craniotomy - temporary partial skull removal - so doctors could place larger, conventional electrodes to locate the source of his seizures and surgically stop them.