Your laptop lets you hear what your brain wants to say

It represents an important step in research aimed at helping people with severe speech disabilities communicate

Dutch and German scientists managed to let a person hear exactly the word she was thinking at that moment through a laptop. It represents an important step in research aimed at enabling people with severe speech disabilities to communicate. In this study, researchers from Maastricht University, the University of Bremen and the Kempinhag Experience Center allowed an epilepsy patient with electrodes deep in her brain to hear the word she wanted to say in real time using machine learning. The results were recently published in the scientific journal Communication biology.

At the beginning of the study, the patient in question read some text. From this, the computer extracted the relationship between spoken words and brain activity using machine learning. Finally, the system emitted sound directly from the measured brain signals, even when the patient imagined she was just talking. “Our system shows that imaginary speech and natural speech share some basic brain processes,” said study leader Christian Herf. “Our data models based on brain activity from normal speech also work for imagined speech.” Herf worked closely with neurosurgeon Peter Cobain of the University of Maastricht UMC+ for this study. Placement of depth electrodes in the brain of an epileptic patient. This often occurs when patients with epilepsy are treated by Kempinhagian neurologists and it must be clarified in which part of the brain the epileptic seizures occur.

speech disorders
The remarkable result of this study on imagined speech is an important step forward in the development of a speech neural prosthesis. Thus, people with serious speech disorders as a result of acquired brain damage, such as the consequences of a cerebral infarction, will be able to communicate in a more or less normal way. “After our first 100-word feasibility study, we are now expanding our trials to enable patients to properly practice verbal visualization and produce comprehensible sentences,” Herf said.

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Name of author and/or editor by: Maastricht UMC +
Photographer or photographic agency: INGImages
The source of this article: Maastricht UMC +
What is the URL for this resource?: laptop-laat-horen-wat-jouw-hersenen-willen-zeggen
Original title: Your laptop lets you hear what your brain wants to say
the target audience: Health care professionals and students
date: 2021-10-03

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