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Machine translates brain waves into words.

Posted: 09/10/10 08:06 AM

The idea of a computer being able to read your thoughts and translate them into words seems like something from science fiction. Or fantasy. But it’s happening now. In Utah.

Bradley Greger is with the department of Bioengineering at the University of Utah. He and his colleagues have found a way to translate brain waves into words. They were able to perform an experiment with a volunteer who had had part of his skull removed as part of an epilepsy treatment. They affixed dozens of electrodes directly to the man’s brain and had him say simple words. Then they measured the electric pattern that accompanied those words and were able to recognize set patterns when the words were repeated.

Dr. Greger says this could be a potentially huge development for people who’ve had strokes, suffer from ALS, or are otherwise unable to speak. He says that if all goes well, it could be used on those people within a few years.

He isn’t entirely comfortable saying he’s invented a mind reading machine but at the same time he doesn’t know what else to call it.

Comments | Filed Under: science health

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What will we do with all this "white space"?

09/26/10 11:15 AM

There’s a vote coming up this week in Washington that will have a big impact on how you use the internet, what’s available to you, how much faster you’ll be able to get things online. On Thursday, the FCC is expected to open up unused parts of the broadcast spectrum, a lot of people call it “white space”. This is space that was positioned to be something of a buffer between television stations but such padding is proving less essential since the conversion to digital TV.

On today’s show, we talk to Glenn Fleishman from Wi-Fi Networking News and The Economist about how the spectrum works and what kind of new space we’re talking about. We also check in with Tim Wu from Columbia Law School about the companies that will look to use the space and what it all might mean for you and me as internet consumers.

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