August 25, 2023

AI Tech Allows Paralysed Woman to Speak

Thanks to recent advances in Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology, a severely paralysed woman is now able to “speak” via a digital avatar.

Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) were able to create a Brain-Computer Interface (BCI) which allows brain signals to be translated into speech and facial expressions.

A 47-year-old woman known simply as “Ann” was the first patient to have her life changed by the technology. Ann was severely paralysed over 18 years ago when she experienced a brainstem stroke..

The UCSF team planted 253 electrodes on to the surface of her brain – specifically over the region vital for talking. The team were then able to train the system’s AI algorithm to detect Ann’s unique brain signals, which would later be translated into sentences using a language model similar to ChatGPT.

“Our goal is to restore a full, embodied way of communicating, which is really the most natural way for us to talk with others,” Professor Edward Chang,the project lead at UCSF, told an international publication on Thursday, 24 August.

“These advancements bring us much closer to making this a real solution for patients,” Chang continued.

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