can’t see the forest

Implant Works to ‘Read Man’s Thoughts’

Posted in brain, computers, medicine, neurology, Science, technology by Curtis on 11/30/07

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For eight years, Eric Ramsay has been ‘locked in.’ Since a terrible car crash, Ramsay has been conscious but almost completely paralyzed and unable to communicate with the world around him except through eye movements.

But neuroscientists from Boston University, according to Communist Robot, have implanted an electrode in Ramsay’s brain which, they say, currently allows them to correctly record the sounds Ramsay is imagining about 80% of the time. That is, the patient merely thinks the words he would like to say, and the electrochemical signals recorded by the device are interpreted by the researchers. The implant monitors the activity of about 41 neurons located in an area of the brain which is responsible for generating speech (perhaps Broca’s area? Just an editorial guess).

Soon, the electrode will output to a computer which will play the interpreted sounds back to Ramsay in real time, allowing him to more precisely calibrate the device to the speech he is imagining.


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