Jean-Dominique Bauby, author of “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly.”,
tapped out the book letter by letter by blinking an eyelid after being paralyzed by a stroke that left him virtually unable to move a muscle.
Thousands of people are reduced to similarly painstaking means of communication as a result of injuries suffered in accidents, combat, strokes, or neurodegenerative disorders such as A.L.S. – all of which render the patient unable to speak.
Scientists are now reporting that they have developed a virtual prosthetic voice, a system that decodes the brain’s vocal intentions and translates them into mostly understandable speech, with no need to move a muscle, even those in the mouth.
The new system, described on Wednesday in the journal Nature, deciphers the brain’s motor commands guiding vocal movement during speech — the tap of the tongue, the narrowing of the lips — and generates intelligible sentences that approximate a speaker’s natural cadence.
This is astounding development and has untold of implications. Give it a listen below (audio starts at 0:16)