This is a quantum leap for technology, supporting people who otherwise cannot communicate.

This technology turns brainwaves into words on a screen. It uses a kind of neural network technology to allow the person to train it to display the words based on the brainwave patterns generated.

“Because our paralyzed volunteers can’t speak while we watch their brain patterns, we asked our first volunteer to try two different approaches. He started with a list of 50 words that are handy for daily life, such as “hungry,” “thirsty,” “please,” “help,” and “computer.” During 48 sessions over several months, we sometimes asked him to just imagine saying each of the words on the list, and sometimes asked him to overtly try to say them. We found that attempts to speak generated clearer brain signals and were sufficient to train the decoding algorithm. Then the volunteer could use those words from the list to generate sentences of his own choosing, such as “No I am not thirsty.””

And unlike some efforts along these lines, it appears that this will never be useful for intrusive surveillance kinds of things.

This Implant Turns Brain Waves Into Words – A brain-computer interface deciphers commands intended for the vocal tract