Thought-Controlled Voice SynthesizerBy Angsuman Chakraborty, Gaea News Network
Thursday, August 11, 2005
A voice synthesiser powered by thought alone could one day enable severely disabled patients to converse more instinctively.
At least, so thinks Philip Kennedy of Georgia, US, who is developing a brain-activated speech system with backing from the US government’s National Institute of Health.
The device builds upon evidence that a specific region of the brain, known as Broca’s Area, lights up when a person talks. It will use electrodes to detect this activity.
A patient will be told to think about component sounds, called phonemes, and their neural activity mapped using the electrodes. Once the system has been trained to identify the signals triggered by each phoneme, a wireless synthesiser could then recreate the sounds on the user’s behalf.
With perseverance and training, Kennedy hopes this will permit patients to quickly generate whole words and sentences.
Read the full patent here.