Scientists Take a Step Toward Decoding Speech from the Brain

Publication Title
Scientific American
Publication/Creation Date
April 24 2019
Karen Weintraub (creator)
Edward Chang (contributor)
University Of California, San Francisco (contributor)
Gopala Anumanchipalli (contributor)
Marc Slutzky (contributor)
Josh Chartier (contributor)
Leigh Hochberg (contributor)
Jaimie Henderson (contributor)
Persuasive Intent
[This] work provides a proof of principle that it should one day be possible to turn imagined words into understandable, real-time speech circumventing the vocal machinery, Edward Chang, a neurosurgeon at U.C.S.F. and co-author of the study published Wednesday in Nature, said Tuesday in a news conference. “Very few of us have any real idea of what’s going on in our mouth when we speak,” he said. “The brain translates those thoughts of what you want to say into movements of the vocal tract, and that’s what we want to decode.”

Chang also emphasized that his approach cannot be used to read someone’s mind—only to translate words the person wants to say into audible sounds. “Other researchers have tried to look at whether or not it’s actually possible to decode essentially just thoughts alone,” he says.* “It turns out it’s a very difficult and challenging problem. That’s only one reason of many that we focus on what people are trying to say.”
HCI Platform
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Date archived
April 25 2019
Last edited
April 25 2019
How to cite this entry
Karen Weintraub. (April 24 2019). "Scientists Take a Step Toward Decoding Speech from the Brain". Scientific American. Scientific American. Fabric of Digital Life.