The debate over technology as a boon or a bane has come a long way. The turnout that technological developments have exhibited is immense and is surely taking a stride in the right way. It has come handy to those who generally find themselves unable to be reaping benefits. It has expanded its dimensions and taken a leap, where there is no looking back. The New York Times recently reported of technology of an invention to decode brain signals into speech. The invention is a major breakthrough. In today’s age with development taking its stride, the unfortunate flip is the discovery of painstaking diseases which have hit the man to an extent so as to hamper there the very skill of communication.
Be it as a result of some unfortunate accident or a birth defect or a paralysis stroke. The consequences have been devastating. Spotting opportunity in the said line of events and its ghastly aftermath, scientists have come to be of some relief. The recent addition to the list is the system of a virtual prosthetic voice. It is a tech-based system which works on the vocal intentions of the brains and translates into speech signals understandable by adequately developed senses, without involving any action of the mouth or sense of speech. The move has been seen as a leap towards restoration of speech entirely, without having to support the subject with any external aid. Neurologists across the globe are appreciating the work and have acknowledged it to be one of its kind to be able to efficiently work on the brain signals.
Earlier, there have been instances of virtual speech aid, using an intracortical interface of the brain-computer. However, the efficiency and accuracy reached by the prosthetic voice are remarkable. So now the speech has been broken away from the mouth, as now without flexing a single mouth muscle and by only processing it in one’s brain cell, the communication is complete. The system works to decipher the signals sent to the brain and deciphers it midway without having to tap your tongue or narrow the lips.
There is a separate motor in the brain which guides the vocal movements, it is that which has been targeted. It goes without saying the effort which has gone behind coming up with such a brain monitoring system. The virtual voice generated was initially tested on five patients, who agreed to it. By mapping their brains with the help of placing the electrodes and recording neuron patterns, the subtle movements were connected to intended speech in order to build the database. The study then was tested multiple times in front of native English speakers to ensure the accuracy of the system. In an interview, the author of this new study and also a renowned professor of neurosurgery remarked:
‘“We showed, by decoding the brain activity guiding articulation, we could simulate speech that is more accurate and natural sounding than synthesized speech based on extracting sound representations from the brain.”
Statistics speak more accurate that, similar moves in the direction have shown a record of 8 words a minute, while the new system has displayed an exemplary record of reaching at par with the natural speed of `150 words per minute. The rapidly advancing technology has now witnessed to be of the benefit of the victims of speech impairment. This is a move towards regaining the ability to speak freely irrespective of the unfortunate events that might have struck. The invention is not just an end in itself but is rather looking forward to seeking to control the brain-damaged which might occur in the case of speech-impairments and articulations for various different reasons.