Mind-reading device could become reality
A device which reads the thoughts of brain-damaged patients could become a reality, scientists claimed, after proving they could tell what someone was hearing just by decoding their brain waves.
Each word spoken to a group of patients by an electronic voice is replicated twice by a computer which analysed the patients’ brain waves to ‘guess’ what they had heard.
Researchers demonstrated that the brain breaks down words into complex patterns of electrical activity, which can be decoded and translated back into an approximate version of the original sound.
Because the brain is believed to process thought in a similar way to sound, scientists hope the breakthrough could lead to an implant which can interpret imagined speech in patients who cannot talk.
Any such device is a long way off because researchers would have to make the technology much more accurate and find a way to apply it to sounds which the patient merely thinks of, rather than hears.