A severely paralyzed man who lost his ability to speak has been given a voice again after scientists implanted a device to decode his brain waves — a potentially game-changing medical breakthrough for people who cannot communicate due to stroke, accidents or illness.
Edward Chang, a neurosurgeon who led the work at the University of California, San Francisco, said the speech neuroprosthesis enabled the man in his late 30s to communicate in sentences by translating signals from his brain to the vocal tract into text on a computer screen.
“To our knowledge, this is the first successful demonstration of direct decoding of full words from the brain activity of someone who is paralyzed and cannot speak,” Chang said in a statement Wednesday. “It shows strong promise to restore communication by tapping into the brain’s natural speech machinery.”
The device was tested on a man who had a massive brainstem stroke more than 15 years ago, damaging the link between