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Expert Rev Med Devices. 2010 Sep;7(5):667-79. doi: 10.1586/erd.10.34.

Development of speech prostheses: current status and recent advances.

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Department of Cognitive and Neural Systems, Boston University, Boston, MA 02215, USA.


Brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) have been developed over the past decade to restore communication to persons with severe paralysis. In the most severe cases of paralysis, known as locked-in syndrome, patients retain cognition and sensation, but are capable of only slight voluntary eye movements. For these patients, no standard communication method is available, although some can use BCIs to communicate by selecting letters or words on a computer. Recent research has sought to improve on existing techniques by using BCIs to create a direct prediction of speech utterances rather than to simply control a spelling device. Such methods are the first steps towards speech prostheses as they are intended to entirely replace the vocal apparatus of paralyzed users. This article outlines many well known methods for restoration of communication by BCI and illustrates the difference between spelling devices and direct speech prediction or speech prosthesis.

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