Program turns brain activity into words

Scientists have devised a way in which a person's internal voices can be decoded. Published in the journal PLoS Biology, the study demonstrated how researchers can reconstruct words based on the brain waves of the individual thinking the phrases.

A computer model was employed to reconfigure the sounds of words that were picked up through the gathering of electrical signals directly from a person's brain, the BBC reports.

It is hoped the development could one day be used to help locked-in or comatose hospital patients communicate.

Professor Robert Knight of the University of California (UC), Berkeley, explained: "From a prosthetic view, people who have speech disorders ... could possibly have a prosthetic device when they can't speak but they can imagine what they want to say." 

To collect their findings, researchers from UC Berkeley focused on the area of the brain known as the superior temporal gyrus, which is a region that enables linguistic sense to be made of words heard.

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