A 38-year-old paralyzed patient was unable to speak for the last 18 years. But the technology showed its amazingness and this patient has now been able to tell his point. In fact, this has been possible with the help of an implant installed in the victim’s brain. This case is from California and it is believed that with this successful treatment, science has now reached close to reading the human mind.
story so far
A 38-year-old who has been paralyzed for 18 years can finally speak again. Dr. Aichang, a neurosurgeon at the University of California, tapped into Pancho’s brain, with the implant connected to a computer program. Pancho’s ability to speak was damaged due to an accident. With the help of the implant, the researchers tap the speech area (the part that produces words) of Pancho’s brain. Pancho now just has to try to speak his mind and Artificial Intelligence i.e. AI will repeat what he is trying to convey.
How did this become possible?
Pancho of California, who was a fieldworker by profession, became the victim of an accident in 2003. Complications due to injury and surgery left him completely paralyzed. During this, Pancho also suffered a stroke, which affected his body’s motor functions, including the ability to speak. After being silent for about 18 years, doctors were beginning to believe that the part of Pancho’s brain associated with speech would have now become inactive and he would never be able to speak again.
But after 50 sessions and 81 weeks of tireless efforts, Pancho can express his feelings again. Doctors have implanted a rectangular sheet with 128 electrodes in his brain. Whenever Pancho tries to speak, this sheet sends a signal to the computer. Electrodes take neuro signals from his face and jaw and signal to the computer which further expresses his words in words. This electrode is designed to detect signals from the sound and motor processes associated with the mouth, lips and jaw.
How accurate is this?
Although it is still not able to give exact results, but the results of the test have surprised even the researchers. When the patient tries to speak short words, artificial intelligence gives accurate results up to three-fourths of its time. Although there are still some difficulties in long sentences, about half of the results are still being given correctly.
why is it important
This achievement has been made possible through neuroprosthesis. It is a process that links the brain to a computer, not a device, to replace missing biological functionality. It can help thousands of other people who do not have the ability to speak. These also include people with brain injury and the condition.
good news and bad news
While this is a huge leap forward for those who struggle to communicate, there is a long way to go in this area. The technology available so far allows the patient to speak 15 to 18 words per minute. An average person speaks about 150 words a minute.
On the other hand, the bad aspect is related to its wrong use. Even if we think that our thoughts are our own, but they can also be exploited. Recent advances in brain-computer interface (BCI) technology show that it is possible to read your mind without even realizing it. The BCI device allows direct communication between the brain and the machine.
It is feared that with increasing technology, neurological diseases can be detected within minutes based on electrical activity in the brain. But it can do much more than that. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University are trying to capture a person’s thoughts with the help of fMRI brain imaging.
Similarly, MIT researchers have also come up with a device, the Alter Ego, which can tap the neuromuscular signals of a person’s face to detect the thoughts going on in his mind.
Elon Musk’s company Neuralink is also operating human trails on an implantable device that can read a person’s mind.
China is also reportedly exploring the deployment of mind-reading technology on military and other government employees to read their emotional state to monitor tensions.