Scientists believe they have found a way to read people’s minds in what could be the first step towards helping brain-damaged patients who cannot speak.
US researchers used a computer program to decode brain activity and put it into words using a form of electronic telepathy.
Experts described the breakthrough, unveiled in the journal Public Library of Science Biology, as “remarkable” and believe it could ultimately be possible to decipher people’s thoughts.
Researchers at the University of California in Berkeley used the programme to predict what spoken words volunteers had listened to by analyzing their brain activity.
Previous research has shown imagined words activate similar brain areas as words that are said aloud, raising hopes they can also be uncovered by “reading” brain waves.
Professor Robert Knight, who worked on the study, said: “This is huge for patients who have damage to their speech mechanisms because of a stroke or Lou Gehrig’s disease and can’t speak.