OHSU Institute on Development and Disability UCEDD Researcher Quoted in National Geographic

May 6, 2019

Dr. Melanie Fried-Oken, leading international clinician and researcher in the field of augmentative and alternative communication and co-director of the OHSU UCEDD, was quoted on the ethics of how a computer brain interface that could translate brain activity and thoughts into audible sentences.

Thinking about the level of control one would have over settings and privacy of their data such as a stored personal vocabulary, Fried-Oken said, "You can turn off that [smartphone] feature, but what if you don't have that physical control?"..."At what level do you want privacy and identity impinged upon for the function of communication? We don't know the answers."

With the cautious enthusiasm that has guided her 30+ year career, she affirmed the positive impact this technology could have: "Wouldn't it be great to be able to give this to a three-year-old who can now interact with the environment, who hasn't been able to do it yet?"..."Just like we're giving cochlear implants to [deaf] infants-the same! There's such potential here, but there's so many neuroethical issues."

View article: "New device translates brain activity into speech. Here's how."