Stroke patient starts speaking 2 foreign languages thanks to new AI-based technology

May 22, 2024  20:42

A team of neurosurgeons and AI specialists at the University of California, San Francisco, has found some success in restoring speech to a patient who lost the ability after a stroke, MedicalXpress reports.

In their study, published in the journal Nature Biomedical Engineering, the group implanted a brain-computer interface (BCI) inside the skull of a man nicknamed "Pancho" and applied AI techniques to the data it provided to help the patient speak again—in two languages.

The volunteer, Pancho, was a native Spanish speaker. He lost most of that ability when he had a stroke at age 20. Several years later, he learned to read and convert words in his thoughts to English.

More recently, he participated in the research project, which applied a lattice of electrodes to the surface of a part of his brain that is responsible for language processing; a connector in his skull allowed the BCI to connect to a computer system.

Over the following three years, Pancho underwent training. He was shown words on a computer screen and was then asked to repeat them in his mind.

As part of the training, Pancho was shown both Spanish and English words.

The system demonstrated 88% accuracy in determining when Pancho was speaking in Spanish versus English, and 75% in decoding words overall.

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