Don’t we all wish we could read each other’s minds instead of getting tangled up in a skein of misunderstood actions or words? Or, is the privacy of our own mind the final frontier we wish to protect from public encroachment?
A group of scientists from Columbia University have teamed up with patients from North Shore University Hospital in an ambitious attempt to work on their brain waves and translating them into speech. These patients were scheduled for brain surgery and have collaborated with researchers during the pre-surgery process involving the implanting of EEG monitors. These devices were used by scientists to obtain high resolution brain wave scans.
The technology is still at its infancy and to translate wave patterns researchers have to train an AI to identify particular patterns drawn whenever patients listen to specific words or numbers. Words are fed to us and how our brain reacts to it are automatically stored by the AI, therefore, when repeatedly applied, these specific brain waves can be recognized through its memory and translated into speech.
When patients listened to numbers 1 to 9 their brains had particular reactions to each digit. These patterned reactions were all documented and once repeated the AI was able to reproduce each pattern into speech.
The study is at a stage where it may be likened to baby talk versus a dictionary. There needs to be a lot of work done, and we are still far away from broaching into the privacy of our thoughts to translate them into full words and phrases. It’s merely translating, or mirroring overheard words via brain waves and through an EEG device. But it is a legitimate start to something big, possibly a new way of communicating.