Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News


Starting today: Past and Future Pervasive Neurotechnologies, as seen through 50 Key Patents


In order to provide a better perspective into the evolution of the digital brain health industry, we are sharing some of our analysis of 50 foundational patents, as identified and discussed in the 2015 market report Pervasive Neurotechnology: A Groundbreaking Analysis of 10,000+ Patent Filings Transforming Medicine, Health, Entertainment and Business.

We will discuss one patent a day, from older to newer by issue date. Today we are sharing a 1999 patent assigned to Scientific Learning Corporation. We hope you enjoy the peek into the future 🙂

— Illustrative image from U.S. Patent No. 5,927,988

U.S. Patent No. 5,927,988: Method and apparatus for training of sensory and perceptual systems in LLI subjects

  • Assignee(s): Scientific Learning Corp.
  • Inventor(s): William M. Jenkins, Michael M. Merzenich, Steven Lamont Miller, Bret E. Peterson, Paula Tallal
  • Technology Category: NeuroCognitive Training
  • Issue Date: July 27, 1999

SharpBrains’ Take:

The ‘988 patent is one of Scientific Learning’s patents directed to cognitive training in the area of language improvement and speech training — an area that affects a wide number of individuals ranging from children with language disabilities to stroke victims suffering from lost neurological connections necessary for auditory communication. Employing adaptive learning techniques, the ‘988 patent provides methods that test a user’s ability to decipher words emitted via a computer speech synthesizer by assessing the abilities of the user to respond to spoken commands. Techniques are discussed and claimed that relate to modifying the domain of time over which the speech command is issued and adapting (to shorter time domains) as the subject continues to learn, thereby establishing neurological connections relating to the various speech components. Despite having an expiration of no later than December of 2017 (and hence somewhat limited remaining life), the ‘988 patent is deemed a key non-invasive neurotechnology patent due to being an early patent directed towards computerized language and speech learning, and having a robust claim set of 54 claims with four independent claims that possess distinctive protective scopes.


An apparatus and method for training the sensory perceptual system in a language learning impaired (LLI) subject is provided. The apparatus and method incorporates a number of different programs to be played by the subject. The programs artificially process selected portions of language elements, called phonemes, so they will be more easily distinguished by an LLI subject, and gradually improves the subject’s neurological processing of the elements through repetitive stimulation. The programs continually monitor a subject’s ability to distinguish the processed language elements, and adaptively configures the programs to challenge and reward the subject by altering the degree of processing. Through adaptive control and repetition of processed speech elements, and presentation of the speech elements in a creative fashion, a subject’s temporal processing of acoustic events common to speech are significantly improved.

Illustrative Claim 1. A method for training the sensory perceptual system in a human on a computer, the method comprising:

a) repetitively providing a first acoustic event to the human, the first acoustic event being stretched in the time domain;

b) sequentially after a) providing a second acoustic event to the human for recognition, the second acoustic event being stretched in the time domain;

c) requiring the human to recognize the second acoustic event within a predetermined time window; and

d) if the human recognizes the second acoustic event within the predetermined time window, reducing the amount that the first and second acoustic events are…

To learn more about market data, trends and leading companies in the digital brain health space –digital platforms for brain/ cognitive assessment, monitoring and enhancement– check out this market report. To learn more about our analysis of 10,000+ patent filings, check out this IP & innovation neurotech report.

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Categories: Cognitive Neuroscience, Health & Wellness, Technology

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