When someone has a stroke, there’s a chance they’ll never be able to communicate the same way again. Eighteen years ago, this happened to a woman named Ann who, at the time, had two children ages 6 months and 7 years. Now, she uses technology she controls through glasses to communicate. But thanks to researchers from UC San Francisco and UC Berkeley, she may have an even better option.
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Together, these researchers are working to develop new brain-computer interface (BCI) technology that would allow folks like Ann to communicate in a much simpler way. Utilizing AI technology, Ann would be given a digital avatar that decodes her brain signals so they can be turned into text, speech, and facial expressions via the avatar. It may sound like something out of a science fiction movie, but Ann has already had the chance to try out an early model.
In a video capturing this monumentous moment, we can see that a device has been screwed onto Ann’s skull. Once she’s connected to the BCI, she’s suddenly able to communicate faster than she has in years.
“My hope is that this is going to be just a stepping stone to many other things that can be done for people who have lost the ability to communicate to realize their full potential,” Edward Chang, M.D., chair UCSF’s chair of neurological surgery said.
Watch Ann’s remarkable first time communicating with BCI in the video below.
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