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The Speech Restoration Project
Goals:  To restore near-conversational speech using at least 100 useful English words.

Methodology:  In paralyzed patients, as in able-bodied persons, the command to speak is detectable as heightened activity of neural signals within a strip of the brain called the Speech motor area, part of which is known as Broca’s area. This area controls the articulators, namely, the muscles of lips, tongue, jaw and pharynx.

Neural Signal's patented neurotrophic electrodes are implanted to detect electrical activity in this area. The electrical data recorded by the electrode is exported to a computer that decodes the pattern of firings of the neural signals. There are 39 phonemes in English, so decoding these patterns should allow us to reconstruct speech.  This has been achieved offline with half the phonemes. See the Reearch area for further details.

Availability:   Systems are available as a research therapeutic device under research protocols.

 

Research and Development Collaborators:


1)  Prof. Frank Guenther and Mr. Jonathan Brumberg, Boston University, MA.

2)  Dinal Andreasen, Georgia Technology Research Institute, Cobb Co. Atlanta, Georgia

3)  Prof. Mark Clements of the Georgia Institute of Technology, with Brett Mathews and Teresa Sanders.

4) Prof. Thomas Wichmann, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia

5) Dr. Princewill Ehirim of Gwinnett Medical Center, Lawrenceville, Georgia.

6) Dr. Brent Wagner, Jie Xu, Zhitao Kang, Georgia Technology Research Institute, Atlanta, Georgia

7) Steve Stice, Aruna Medical Inc., Atlanta, Georgia

Recent Collaborators:

4)  Prof. Andrew Schwartz and Dr. Meel Velliste of the University of Pittsburgh

5) Dr. Hui Mao of Emory University - Dept. of Neuroradiology

6) Prof. Lee Miller and Jim Rebesco, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL.

7) Dr. Roy Bakay, Rush Medical Center, Chicago, IL.

8) Paul Hasler, Georgia Technology Research Institute, Atlanta, Georgia.

Glossary of bold terms:
neurotrophic electrode - This electrode differs from other tine type and wire devices by encouraging the brain to grow into the electrode tip, thus ensuring stability over the long-term. In this project it is implanted 5 mm deep into the speech motor cortex, the part of the brain that controls the articulators.
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