New Stanford technology allows people who lost speaking ability to talk through brain waves

Dustin Dorsey Image
Thursday, August 24, 2023
New Stanford technology allows people to talk through brain waves
New research and technology at Stanford University allows people who lost their ability to speak to communicate through brain waves.

STANFORD, Calif. (KGO) -- A 2021 ALS diagnosis left Pat Bennett without the ability to speak. But new research at Stanford University has given Bennett her voice back.

Small sensors implanted on Bennett's brain communicate with the hundreds of brain cells where speech production occurs. Using her brain waves, the sensors detect words that she wants to say and devices on the top of her head relay those brain waves to the screen to develop the words and phrases.

This allows Bennett to communicate without forming the words.

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Being able to speak again is life-changing for her. Stanford Medicine Professor of Neurosurgery Dr. Jaimie Henderson hopes in the next five to 10 years, systems can be in place to give more people their voice again as well.

"I have hope," Bennett said during one of the trainings.

"People with communication disorders can sometimes become withdrawn, less socially active, and this could allow people to get back into social situations," Henderson said. "So, it could potentially be transformative."

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