Codebreaker

Watch what you think with a new brain wave looker-atter

Marc Sanchez Feb 1, 2012


Scientists at Berkeley’s Helen Willis Neuroscience Institute are developing a program to decipher words simply by looking at brainwaves. That means, if you think it, the computer can say it.

The Guardian reports: “The remarkable feat has given researchers fresh insight into how the brain processes language, and raises the tantalising prospect of devices that can return speech to the speechless.” The technology is still in its nascent stages, and the audible results sometimes end up sounding like nothing more than glitchy gibberish.

The 15 patients that were tested were also being treated for intractable epilepsy and underwent a procedure that involves removing the top of their skulls and having a net of electrodes placed on their brains. It’s hard to be stealthy when it  comes to removing the top of your skull, so if you’re worried about the impact on what technology like this could have on privacy, you can rest easy for now.

We’re here to help you navigate this changed world and economy.

Our mission at Marketplace is to raise the economic intelligence of the country. It’s a tough task, but it’s never been more important.

In the past year, we’ve seen record unemployment, stimulus bills, and reddit users influencing the stock market. Marketplace helps you understand it all, will fact-based, approachable, and unbiased reporting.

Generous support from listeners and readers is what powers our nonprofit news—and your donation today will help provide this essential service. For just $5/month, you can sustain independent journalism that keeps you and thousands of others informed.

$5/month special ending soon!

Don’t wait: there’s less than 24 hours left to get (almost) any Marketplace thank-you gift.