Creating text from thoughts
Researchers are reporting that they’ve engineered a system capable of reading brain signals and translating them directly into text. This is a step towards ‘speech prosthesis’ that could effectively let you think text directly into a computer – which would offer, among a wealth of possibilities, the ability to help give paralysed individuals speech.
The team recruited epilepsy patients with pre-existing electrode arrays implanted into their brains for the purpose of monitoring their condition. They observed when the participants read sentences aloud repeatedly while they collected neural information and built an algorithm that was able to recognise and interpret even when the subjects read the sentence in their heads.
While there are currently limitations – the algorithm works best on pre-trained sentences – it is an incredible step forward towards speech prosthesis.
CRISPR Gene Editing
Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats (CRISPR) is arguably the most advanced gene editing technology today.
CRISPR technology works by harnessing the immune system’s natural mechanisms of bacterium cells of invading viruses, which effectively remove infected DNA strands. Cutting out DNA is what holds the key to potentially transform disease treatment in a revolutionary way. If we can modify genes, we may have the power to eradicate some of the most devastating threats to our health, such as cancer and HIV, in a matter of years.
When doctors were able to regenerate skin cells for burn victims that needed skin grafts, it was a ground-breaking step forward for medicine and the treatment of physical trauma. This also opened the door for even more regenerative possibilities in critical medical procedures. Scientists have now been able to create synthetic ovaries, a pancreas and blood vessels, which grow within a patients’ bodies to replace their natural organs.
Creating artificial organs which aren’t rejected by the body’s immune system could be a step towards saving millions of lives dependent on transplants.
The future of surgery
Robotics and 3D printing are leading us toward a new frontier in surgical possibilities.
Robotic surgeries are now used in minimally invasive procedures. This method has the advantage of aiding in surgical precision, ensuring doctors have increased flexibility and control.
Another way surgery is advancing is though 3D-printed joints and implants. As 3D printers are able to produce bespoke implants and joints that match a patient’s exact measurements down to the millimetre, ensuring more comfort and fewer complications for patients.
Future advancements could allow robotic surgery and 3D printing to reach higher levels of precision, meaning that they could aide in a wealth of surgical procedures and even become the default for the medical industry.
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