We humans have had a fascinating relationship with technology and this team of researchers are proving just that. The research team from IIT – Madras have developed an AI tech that can apparently read a person’s thoughts and convert them into written language!
This is a major breakthrough for the world of Science, because even though big names like Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg had previously tried their hand at developing a brain-computer interface, this research is the first to produce actual results.
IIT – Madras & Their AI Tech
The new tech is said to be able to convert the brain signals of speech-impaired persons into language. The team also believes that the technology will be of great use in decoding natural phenomena, like the chemical signals in plants related to photosynthesis, etc.
The research team was led by Dr. Vishal Nandigana, who is an Assistant Professor in the institute’s Department of Mechanical Engineering. His team is working on decoding the brain signals exhibited during speech, by using AI and Deep Learning Algorithms.
The Science Behind It
Any form of signal, be it electric or from the brain, are wave forms that are decoded to meaningful information using physical laws and mathematical transforms (E.g., Laplace transforms). These laws and transforms are nothing but science-based languages.
Human language or speech can be understood as a series of electrical signals and ionic current flowing through certain parts of our brain. This in fact is due to the activity of the brain cells, i.e., the neurons.
Dr. Nandigana says that such an interpretation will let us know what the ions are trying to communicate with us. If the team can successfully do that, then they can collect electro-physiological data from neurologists to get the brain signals of speech impaired people to understand what they’re trying to express.
But how does this explain the decoding of nature’s signals?
The data signals, according to the team are going to be ‘in some wave-like pattern with spikes, humps and crusts’. This, along with the AI tech and Deep Learning Algorithms mentioned before, will enable the researchers to interpret whatever nature and plants are trying to communicate.
The team tested this concept by first getting experimental electrical signals through laboratory experiments designed to get signals from nanofluidic transport inside nanopores. These nanopores were in turn filled with saline solution and mediated using an electric field.
How Is This Tech Beneficial?
Speech impairments caused due to injuries to the brain can be highly devastating. Speech impediments like aphasia could technically render a person completely unable to communicate with anyone.
In that context, the new AI tech by the research team at IIT – Madras could really give hope to a lot of people. To be able to read someone’s brain signals and to convert those into English could indeed be the first step towards removing the barriers that such people face.
Further, the tech’s wide range of application extending even to natural phenomena could help us in predicting monsoons, floods, tsunamis and other such natural disasters. As the team’s lead researcher says, “If we understand the nature signals well, we can take care of it well.”
Even though the technology is still in development and not ready for commercial use, it is nothing short of a massive breakthrough. The world of science is indeed looking forward to more such innovations!
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