Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Converting Thoughts to Text

Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Converting Thoughts to Text

Article excerpt

What if a device could decode your thoughts into actual speech or written words? It could be a potential game-changer for those with speech pathologies and even more so for "locked-in" patients who lack any speech or motor function.

"So instead of saying 'Siri, what is the weather like today' or 'Ok Google, where can I go for lunch?' I just imagine saying these things," explains Christian Herff, author of a recent journal article on the subject.

While reading one's thoughts electronically is not yet possible, scientists are already decoding speech from signals generated in our brains when we speak or listen to speech.

Herff and co-author Tanja Schultz compared various techniques to capture neural signals from the brain and then decode them to text. The technologies include functional MRI and near infrared imaging that can detect neural signals based on metabolic activity of neurons, to methods such as EEG and magnetoencephalography (MEG) that can detect electromagnetic activity of neurons responding to speech. One method in particular, called electrocorticography (ECoG), showed promise in Herff's study. …

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