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Scientists read brain of paralyzed man

By means of electrodes implanted into the brain of a paralyzed man, scientists say that they may be on the brink of translating his thoughts into words.

By means of electrodes implanted into the brain of a paralyzed man, scientists say that they may be on the brink of translating his thoughts into words.

These electrodes have been recording pulses in areas of the brain known to be speech-related.

Excerpt from BBC News:

Although the data is still being analyzed, researchers at Boston University believe they can correctly identify the sound Mr. Ramsay's brain is imagining some 80% of the time.

Before you get worked up over the idea:

There is a huge difference between a technique like this, which is able to pick up signals the subject wants to be picked up, and being able to delve deep into the mind," says Professor John Dylan Haynes of the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences.

The team hopes to achieve conversation one day, though they admittedly are still "pretty far" from that.

What is your opinion about controlling a computer via thoughts?

About

Paul Mah is a writer and blogger who lives in Singapore, where he has worked for a number of years in various capacities within the IT industry. Paul enjoys tinkering with tech gadgets, smartphones, and networking devices.

8 comments
toniperry
toniperry

sounds great! How will they know that the interpreter is actually conveying the man's thought as opposed to being slanted by his own biases, prejudices and guesses? I recall the big news some years back that autistic and totally uncommunicative children could express their ideas on keyboard. If I recall this was never proven.

JCitizen
JCitizen

Maybe now people like that physics genius Stephen Hawking can communicate to finish his work before he passes away; and time is wasting for him!

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

As I understand, he uses muscle twitches to work with his computer. Spoken words are generated by a voice synthesizer. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephen_Hawking#computer) You may have heard him if you are a radio listener or Pink Floyd fan (the song "Keep Talking"). This technique, if perfected, would greatly speed the process, but would no doubt present different technical challenges.

JCitizen
JCitizen

sadly he is having difficulty even using the interface you mention. His project helper has to guess what he is trying to do and watch his face to look for yes no indications to try to speed the process of communication up. It has slowed his research down to a crawl - it must be tremendously frustrating.

DanLM
DanLM

;o( Such a great mind with limited ability to communicate. Dan

paulmah
paulmah

Even if eventually possible, what is your opinion on controlling a computer via thoughts?

don.gulledge
don.gulledge

Can't wait. I'm severly in need of a backup. If we could read the brain directly, the need for lawyers would almost vanish and criminals couldn't lie out crime. Our society would change in an instant. Maybe it would change into one of those futuristic utopias.

ilandron
ilandron

With rapidly growing progress it sounds very real. But what if the next step will be controlling the thoughts via computer!!! ------------ Cool houses