What's the Latest Development?

Scientists have taken the first steps toward decoding our thoughts into language. By observing which parts of the brain respond to specific sounds, neuroscientists at UC Berkeley were able to reverse engineer our ideas into spoken words. "The team monitored the brain waves of 15 patients who were undergoing surgery for epilepsy or tumours, while playing audio of a number of different speakers reciting words and sentences." They then used a computer model to tell them which brain regions were firing when different sounds were played.

What's the Big Idea?

This research represents the latest step in our ability to bridge the gap between a purely physical understanding of the brain and knowing how it affects real world phenomena like image and sound. In just the last year, patients have been taught to move a computer cursor with their thoughts (once electrodes were connected to their brains) and, in another Berkeley study, images were 'extracted' from the brain and played back on a screen, offering a visual representation of what the brain understands when it receives sensory data from the outside.

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