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Breaking the Wall of Speech Loss

Falling Walls Foundation | Edward Chang

How brain signals can be translated into highly complex speech

Each year, thousands of people lose the ability to speak due to strokes, accidents, or disease. While there have been various attempts to restore speech to humans, science still has a long way to go.

Edward Chang is a leading neurosurgeon and Weill Chair of Neurological Surgery at the University of California. A specialist in advanced brain mapping of language, Chang and his laboratory have demonstrated the detailed functional blueprint of the human speech cortex, and have translated those discoveries towards the development of a “speech neuroprosthesis” – a high-density electrode array implanted directly on the surface of the brain to record electrical activity.

At Falling Walls, Chang shows how this device has enabled a man with severe paralysis to communicate in sentences, translating signals from his brain directly into words that appear as text on a screen. This is the first successful demonstration of direct decoding of full words from the brain activity of someone who is paralyzed.

LIVE EVENT; AVAILABLE VIA LIVESTREAM AND ATTENDANCE FOR SUMMIT PARTICIPANTS in the Lecture Hall. Radialsystem, Ground Fl.

About the Venue
Radialsystem – Lecture Hall
Holzmarktstraße 33
Berlin, 10243 Germany

Edward Chang

University of California, San Francisco

Edward Chang is the Joan and Sanford Weill Chair of Neurological Surgery at the University of California, San Francisco. Dr. Chang specializes in advanced brain mapping to safely perform neurosurgical procedures in eloquent areas of the brain. His research focuses on the discovery of neural mechanisms of high-order neurological function in humans. Dr. Chang’s laboratory has demonstrated the detailed functional organization of the human speech cortex and has translated those discoveries towards the development of a speech neuroprosthetic device to restore communication for people living with paralysis. Dr. Chang is the 2015 Blavatnik National Laureate in Life Sciences and was inducted to the National Academy of Medicine in 2020.

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