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Thu Apr 25, 2019, 01:45 AM

New Tech Converts Thoughts to Speech, Could Give Voice to the Voiceless


By Roni Dengler | April 24, 2019 3:37 pm

Throat cancer, stroke and paralysis can rob people’s voices and strip away their ability to speak. Now, researchers have developed a decoder that translates brain activity into a synthetic voice. The new technology is a significant step toward restoring lost speech.

“We want to create technologies that can reproduce speech directly from human brain activity,” Edward Chang, a neurosurgeon at the University of California San Francisco, who led the new research, said in a press briefing. “This study provides a proof of principle that this is possible.”

Slow Synthesis
People who have lost the ability to speak currently rely on brain-computer interfaces or devices that track eye or head movements to communicate. The late physicist Stephen Hawking, for example, used his cheek muscle to control a cursor that would slowly spell out words.

These technologies move a cursor to spell out words letter by letter. Though these tools enable communication, they are slow, stringing together five to 10 words a minute. But people talk much faster — human speech clips along at 120 to 150 words per minute. Chang and colleagues wanted to create a device that could speed up communication.

More:
http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/d-brief/2019/04/24/convert-brain-activity-to-speech-electrodes-algorithm/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A%20DiscoverMindBrain%20%28Discover%20Mind%20%26%20Brain%29#.XMFW7OhKjIU

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Reply New Tech Converts Thoughts to Speech, Could Give Voice to the Voiceless (Original post)
Judi Lynn Apr 2019 OP
Judi Lynn Apr 2019 #1
eppur_se_muova Apr 2019 #2
littlemissmartypants Apr 2019 #3
eppur_se_muova Apr 2019 #5
littlemissmartypants Apr 2019 #6
eppur_se_muova Apr 2019 #7
littlemissmartypants May 2019 #9
littlemissmartypants Apr 2019 #4
gtar100 Apr 2019 #8
JustFiveMoreMinutes May 2019 #10
Judi Lynn May 2019 #11

Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Thu Apr 25, 2019, 01:54 AM

1. Computer program mimics natural speech using brain signals from epilepsy patients

Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Apr 25 2019

Scientists used brain signals recorded from epilepsy patients to program a computer to mimic natural speech--an advancement that could one day have a profound effect on the ability of certain patients to communicate. The study was supported by the National Institutes of Health's Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Technologies (BRAIN) Initiative.

"Speech is an amazing form of communication that has evolved over thousands of years to be very efficient," said Edward F. Chang, M.D., professor of neurological surgery at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and senior author of this study published in Nature. "Many of us take for granted how easy it is to speak, which is why losing that ability can be so devastating. It is our hope that this approach will be helpful to people whose muscles enabling audible speech are paralyzed."

In this study, speech scientists and neurologists from UCSF recreated many vocal sounds with varying accuracy using brain signals recorded from epilepsy patients with normal speaking abilities. The patients were asked to speak full sentences, and the data obtained from brain scans was then used to drive computer-generated speech. Furthermore, simply miming the act of speaking provided sufficient information to the computer for it to recreate several of the same sounds.

The loss of the ability to speak can have devastating effects on patients whose facial, tongue, and larynx muscles have been paralyzed due to stroke or other neurological conditions. Technology has helped these patients to communicate through devices that translate head or eye movements into speech. Because these systems involve the selection of individual letters or whole words to build sentences, the speed at which they can operate is very limited. Instead of recreating sounds based on individual letters or words, the goal of this project was to synthesize the specific sounds used in natural speech.

More:
https://www.news-medical.net/news/20190425/Computer-program-mimics-natural-speech-using-brain-signals-from-epilepsy-patients.aspx

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Thu Apr 25, 2019, 10:55 AM

2. If your vocal cords are non-functioning, you can still talk like Donald Duck ...

Buccal speech is created with one of the buccal or cheek sides of the vocal tract. Both the air chamber and the replacement glottis are formed between the cheek and upper jaw. Buccal speech is produced when a person creates an airbubble between the cheek and the jaw on one side and then uses muscular action to drive the air through a small gap between or behind the teeth into the mouth. The sound so produced makes a high rough sound. This then is articulated to make speech.[1][2] The speech sounds made in this way are difficult to hear and have a raised pitch. The technique can be also be used to sing,[1] and is usually acquired as a taught or self-learned skill and used for entertainment.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alaryngeal_speech

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Response to eppur_se_muova (Reply #2)

Thu Apr 25, 2019, 04:04 PM

3. That's assuming

All other physiological functions and structures are intact. The process of speaking is extremely complex and can't be distilled down to one option. It's also an insult to the speechless to suggest otherwise.

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Response to littlemissmartypants (Reply #3)

Thu Apr 25, 2019, 05:17 PM

5. Many otherwise "speechless" use exactly such techniques.

Jack Klugman, for one, lost his vocal cords to cancer, but learned to speak using some form of alaryngeal speech. Try reading the whole wiki article.

*Of course* this assumes there is not some other physiological problem, but that seemed too obvious to mention.

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Response to eppur_se_muova (Reply #5)

Thu Apr 25, 2019, 05:29 PM

6. I have over thirty years worth of experience in the field

Working with speech patients and their families. I stand firm in the belief that given a choice of options few would choose to speak like "Donald Duck." Let's just agree to disagree.

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Response to littlemissmartypants (Reply #6)

Thu Apr 25, 2019, 05:35 PM

7. Well, I certainly didn't say it was the *best* approach.

I do wish more people knew that it existed -- especially those too poverty-stricken, or living in too remote corners of the world, to have access to better options.

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Response to eppur_se_muova (Reply #7)

Tue May 7, 2019, 07:10 PM

9. You might find this interesting.


?s=19

Partnering with nonprofits and volunteers, Project Euphonia is a @GoogleAI research effort to help people with speech impairments communicate faster and gain independence → https://t.co/JAzC1aMNZg #io19 https://t.co/SBg4lru3RW

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Thu Apr 25, 2019, 04:05 PM

4. Kicked and recommended. nt ❤

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Thu Apr 25, 2019, 11:34 PM

8. As long as there is a way to control which thoughts get voiced, we're fine.

Not a good idea to just hook me up to such a device so that you can hear what I am thinking. Not every thought in my head is worth expressing out loud. I'm sure you know what I mean.

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Response to gtar100 (Reply #8)

Wed May 8, 2019, 02:35 AM

10. +1000000 (perhaps we have too much 'on our minds' that we don't want shared!)

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Response to gtar100 (Reply #8)

Wed May 8, 2019, 03:43 AM

11. Amen! Could get some of us killed! Back to the drawing board. Great post. n/t

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