Scientists Listen In on Thoughts

Scientists at University of California, Berkeley, have found a way to reconstruct words someone hears based on their brain waves, a breakthrough that could someday help patients stuck in a coma. By mapping brain activity when a patient heard a certain word, the Berkeley team was able to later determine what word a patient was thinking of. They were even able to reconstruct some of the words using a computer model that suggested what the brain waves meant. “From a prosthetic view, people who have speech disorders ... could possibly have a prosthetic device when they can’t speak but they can imagine what they want to say,” said one of the researchers, though such a tool is a long way off.