Researchers at Columbia University in New York have published the remarkable results of ongoing research into "mind-reading" technology that can synthesise speech from brain activity. The paper is titled "Towards reconstructing intelligible speech from the human auditory cortex", and was published by Scientific Reports on January 29. The full text is accessible from The neuro-engineers behind the breakthrough work at the university’s Zuckerman Institute — named for media mogul and investor Mortimer Zuckerman — which focuses on the brain and mind. Nima Mesgarani, the principal investigator and lead author of the paper, explains how researchers used a combination of a vocoder and electrocorticography on five volunteers for this project. The vocoder here is a computer algorithm that learns to "speak" from a data stream and through exposure to language, as seen in virtual assistants like Siri and Amazon’s Echo, while with electrocorticography patients have electrodes implant...

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