A device that can read people’s minds by studying their brainwaves has been developed in a breakthrough that could eventually enable people with the “locked-in syndrome“ to communicate.
The system was partially effective, with a 90% success rate when trying to recognize numbers from zero to nine, and 61% for single syllables in Japanese, the researchers said. But a statement about the research issued by the Toyohashi University of Technology in Japan said the results showed that an effective device to read people’s thoughts and relay them to others was possible in the “near future“. They even suggested an “easily operated“ device with a smartphone app could be ready in just five years.
In the study, an electroencephalogram (EEG) was used to monitor people’s brain waves while they spoke. The brain waves were then matched to the syllables and numbers using “machine learning“, a process used to develop artificial intelligence. The `Daily Mail’ reported, “Study participants uttered numbers and the robot guessed in real-time based on real-time readings of an electroencephalogram (EEG) brain scan.
The mind-reading device was also able to recognize 18 types of Japanese symbols from EEG signals with a 60% accuracy rate.
The researchers said other attempts to use brain waves to understand people’s thoughts had struggled to understand what was being “said“. Up until now, speech-decoding from EEG signals has had difficulty in collecting enough data to allow the use of powerful algorithms based on `deep learning’ or other types of machine learning.
The researchers now plan to develop a “brain-computer interface“ that can recognize words that are merely thought and not spoken.This technology may enable handicapped people, who have lost the ability to voice communication, to obtain the ability once again.
The group (also) plans to develop a device that can be easily operated with fewer electrodes and connected to smartphones within the next five years.