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Method for adaptive training of short term memory and auditory/visual discrimination within a computer game: Key Neurotech Patent #13


– Illustrative image from U.S. Patent No. 6,599,129

Today we are sharing a 2003 cognitive training patent assigned to Scientific Learning Corp.

U.S. Patent No. 6,599,129: Method for adaptive training of short term memory and auditory/visual discrimination within a computer game

  • Assignee(s): Scientific Learning Corp.
  • Inventor(s): William M. Jenkins, Michael M. Merzenich, Steven L. Miller, Bret E. Peterson, Paula Tallal
  • Technology Category: NeuroCognitive Training
  • Issue Date: July 29, 2003

SharpBrains’ Take:

The ‘129 patent builds on Scientific Learning’s portfolio relating to language training and development.  The ‘129 patent describes approaches that tie together visual and auditory techniques to not only improve a user’s ability to decipher and understand language, but also enhances working memory by training the user to recall and match phonemes (basic linguistic units). Despite having what may be considered to be a relatively small total number of claims (7), the teachings of the ‘129 patent that synthesize audio and visual components in language training, along with an independent claim that broadly protects the inventive concept are amongst the factors making the ‘129 patent a key non-invasive neurotechnology patent.


A method for training of auditory and graphical discrimination in humans, and a human’s short term memory, is provided within an animated game environment. The method provides a number of stimulus sets, each stimulus set having similar sounding phonemes associated with graphemes. Upon initiation of a trial, a grid of tiles is presented to a subject. The subject selects the tiles, one at a time. As the tiles are selected, an associated phoneme is presented to the subject. The subject clears away tiles by pairing them with identical tiles. When all the tiles in a trial are cleared, the subject is either promoted or demoted in skill level. Promotion/demotion varies the number of tiles presented, the phonemes used within each trial, and the amount of audio processing that is applied to the phonemes.

Illustrative Claim 1. A method for adaptively training a subject’s working memory by presenting a plurality of tiles within a video game environment, the plurality of tiles playing a plurality of phonemes when selected, each of the plurality of tiles having a corresponding tile that plays the same auditory phoneme, the method comprising:

  1. upon selection of a first one of the plurality of tiles, playing a first phoneme, and displaying the first phoneme’s associated grapheme;
  2. upon selection of a second one of the plurality of tiles, playing a second phoneme;
  3. if the first and second phonemes are the same, and are selected sequentially, removing both the first and second one of the plurality of tiles without displaying the second phoneme’s associated grapheme; and
  4. if the first and second phonemes are not the same, retaining both the first and second one of the plurality of tiles until they are selected sequentially.

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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