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Mind reading machine on its way: Scientists

world Updated: Sep 08, 2010 23:24 IST

Scientists who claim to have discovered a way of translating people’s thoughts into words are soon coming out with a mind reading machine.

An international team, led by Prof Bradley Greger of Utah University, has been able to translate brain signals into speech using sensors attached to the brian’s surface for the first time.

The experimental breakthrough, which is up to 90 per cent accurate, offers a way to communicate for paralysed patients who cannot speak and could eventually lead to being able to read anyone thoughts, The Daily Telegraph reported.

"We have been able to decode spoken words using only signals from the brain with a device that has promise for long-term use in paralysed patients who cannot now speak.

"I would call it brain reading and we hope that in two or three years it will be available for use...," was quoted as saying.

The team achieved the experimental breakthrough when it attached two button sized grids of 16 tiny electrodes to the speech centres of the brain of an epileptic patient who had part of his skull removed for another operation.

Using the electrodes, the scientists recorded brain signals as the patient repeatedly read each of 10 words that might be useful to a paralysed person: yes, no, hot, cold, hungry, thirsty, hello, goodbye, more and less. Then they got him to repeat the words to the computer and it was able to match the brain signals for each word 76 per cent to 90 per cent of the time.