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Brain To Text

August 13, 2021

How Can Technology Help Communicate Your Thoughts?

If you ever thought it would be useful to transform your thoughts to text, you’re not the only one. But the folks who could really use the thought-to-text tool are people like Pancho, who lost his ability to speak after a serious car accident. Researchers are figuring out ways to convert his knowledge of speech and word formation into text that appears on the screen next to him. The technology relies on the ability to know how speech works, which is why Pancho, who was able to speak easily until his accident, is the perfect candidate for the experiment.

The team planted electrodes that detected signals from his mouth, lips, jaw, tongue, and larynx to identify the words he was attempting to form. Pancho then tried to say words, and even though he wasn’t able to say them out aloud, the processes it fired in his brain to create the mouth movement trained the computer system to learn. The first recognizable sentence that he converted to text? “My family is outside.”

This technology could easily replace the current communication system used by those who have lost their ability to speak and hand-type—which is to type letter by letter using a mouse controlled by head movements.