Scientists have enabled a person with complete paralysis to communicate using an implanted brain-computer interface (BCI). The hope now is that verbal communication with such devices may one day be possible.


This article by Abigail Williams, writing for Physics World, makes the following points:
  • A type of BCI called an auditory neuro-feedback system was implanted into the brain of a 34-year-old male patient with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)—also known as motor neurone disease.
  • The patient was completely locked in and had no voluntary muscular control. 
  • After implantation, however, he could form words and phrases and communicate at an average rate of about one character per minute.
  • The study answers a long-standing question about whether people with complete locked-in syndrome—loss of all voluntary muscle control, including movement of the eyes or mouth—also lose the ability of their brain to generate commands for communication.


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