16-July-2021, In a world first, US researchers have developed a Neuroprosthetic device that successfully translated the brain waves of a paralyzed man into complete sentences, according to a scientific paper published Thursday.
The breakthrough involved a 36-year-old man who had a stroke when he was 20 that left him with anarthria - the inability to speak intelligibly, though his cognitive function had remained intact. "This is an important technological milestone for a person who cannot communicate naturally," said David Moses, a postdoctoral engineer at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF), and one of the lead authors of the study in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Every year, thousands of people lose the ability to talk due to strokes, accidents or disease.
Past research in this area has focused on reading brain waves via electrodes to develop mobility prosthetics that allow users to spell out letters. The new approach was intended to enable more rapid and organic communication.
"BRAVO1." was named for the new study BRAVO stand for Brain-Computer Interface Restoration of Arm and Voice, BRAVO1 has had extremely limited head, neck, and limb movements, and communicates by using a pointer attached to a baseball cap to poke letters on a screen.
The researchers worked to develop a 50-word vocabulary with words essential to his daily life like "water," "family," and "good," then surgically implanted a high-density electrode over his speech motor cortex.