Skip to comments.Paralysed man's mind is 'read'
Posted on 11/17/2007 3:35:04 PM PST by BGHater
Scientists say they may be on the brink of translating into words the thoughts of a man who can no longer speak, after a pioneering experiment.
Electrodes have been implanted in the brain of Eric Ramsay, who has been "locked in" - conscious but paralysed - since a car crash eight years ago.
These have been recording pulses in areas of the brain involved in speech.
Now, New Scientist magazine reports, they are to use the signals he generates to drive speech software.
Although the data is still being analysed, researchers at Boston University believe they can correctly identify the sound Mr Ramsay's brain is imagining some 80% of the time.
CAUSES OF LOCKED-IN SYNDROME:
CAUSES OF LOCKED-IN SYNDROME:
In the next few weeks, a computer will start the task of translating his thoughts into sounds.
"We hope it will be a breakthrough," says Joe Wright of Neural Signals, which has helped develop the technology.
"Conversation is what we're hoping for, but we're pretty far from that."
Experts in the field of neuroscience agreed it was an exciting advance.
"It hasn't come completely out of the blue," said Professor Geraint Rees, a neuroscientist at University College London.
"We have been moving towards decoding primitive vocabulary for a while now. But this is certainly an interesting development, although invasive techniques, where something is out in someone's brain, such as these will of course carry risks."
Reading people's minds remains a far-off prospect, however.
"There is a huge difference between a technique like this, which is able to pick up signals the subject wants to be picked up, and being able to delve deep into the mind," says Professor John Dylan Haynes of the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences.
"It's very exciting that we are starting to be able to translate some basic thoughts, but we are a lot further away from a universal mind reading machine than some people hoped - or feared - we may be five years ago."
Sounds interesting, but gives me images of Capt. Christopher Pike from the orignal Star Trek series...
Buy ... more ... ovalt... son of a bitch!
Don’t let Nurse Smith touch me there....
There are some things goin’ on in there that I might not want to share!
Great. I just hope the guy doesn’t have a bad dream where someone turns of his life support. It may be seen as his final wish.
This is interesting.
No kidding. I have enough trouble keeping my mouth shut while I’m capable of doing so.
"The researchers made their investigation with Eric Ramsay, 27, a young man left paralytic by a car accident for eight years. He is well aware but he cannot express other way than through eye movements.
Now researchers, tracking cell signaling between the young man's brain cells, could translate his brain activity into sounds, according to The New Scientist.
In 2004, researchers implanted in the patient a wireless electrode, 6 mm below the surface of his brain, in the area known to trigger the impulses that go to the muscles of the tongue and mouth, resulting sound production and speech. After investigating the patterns of these nerve signals, triggered when Ramsey intended to speak, the researchers developed a software that could transform them into a computer "voice", which one day could generate blocks of words.
The investigations revealed a clear brain pattern forming when Ramsey attempted to pronounce the vowels "oh", "ee" and "oo". Various patterns were linked with many sounds, and the research team assesses that they can correctly say what Ramsey wanted to say in 80 % of the cases. In a few weeks, a computer could turn Ramsay's brain pattern signaling into sounds which will be audible in real time.
After vowels, the researchers will tackle consonants, the last step which will give Ramsey back the possibility to "speak". "Conversation is what we're hoping for, but we're pretty far from that," said Joe Wright of Neural Signals, a Duluth, Georgia, based company, which develop the technology employed by Ramsey.
The scientists chose Ramsey for their investigation because of his young age, which means he has a long further life expectancy and can withstand several investigations weekly."
Ya know, Pike just might have been a liberal. He did prefer living in fantasy land to living with the harsh reality.
Who in God’s name would give permission for the doctor’s to do this. I don’t see any mention of relatives but might have missed it....Not too swift tonight!!
Makes me think of the government implanting chips in all those born into future generations. You think the thought police are bad now!!
He kept thinking, “P...2...2...6...”
Now, if they really wanted to test their theory, they’d use a healthy person, and have them write down a thought, concentrate on it during the test, and then have them confirm the results after the test.
The obvious potential is to bypass torture and waterboarding and truth serums, etc., and simply dig out the information needed.
Or worse yet....
Kids...be sure to drink your Ovaltine!
or worse still...
Yeah, I read this and the first thing I thought was Hillary salivating at the thought of having all conservatives implanted with a mind-reading chip.
More like see what happens when you cross the klintons!
He can blink and hear, he could have given permission. Just ask him, “You want to be wired up to a computer so we can try to find a way to hear your thoughts, blink 5 times quickly for yes”
and I bet he was so quick you couldn’t believe, he was a normal smart speaking human for 19 years, now at 27 trapped in a useless body with no way to communicate.
I would give doctor’s permission to try something like this on my daughter as long as it didn’t cause her any brain damage.
My 11 year old daughter has speech problems due to brain damage. Lots of the time she knows what she wants to say, but she can’t “find” the word to say it. She gets really frustrated. Also, her articulation is not very clear, so it is still hard to understand her.
My daughter is smart, so it is very frustrating not to be an effective communicator.
Couldn’t John Edwards channel him?