Sunday, August 18, 2019
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Just Keep Thinking

BrainGate Tablet Chat
Source: https://engineering.stanford.edu/magazine/article/patients-paralysis-use-brain-signals-operate-tablet
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X-Men. Lord of the Rings. The Matrix.

Three movies built upon the fascinating idea of telekinesis. Three stunning works of fantasy that embody futuristic ideals in a technologically advanced society.

Well, telepathy isn’t a fantasy anymore.

According to Bruce Goldman of Stanford University, “new clinical trial results show that people with paralysis who have been equipped with a technologically advanced, baby-aspirin-sized brain implant can learn to directly operate an off-the-shelf computer tablet, just by thinking about making cursor movements and clicks on a wireless mouse paired to the device.” In other words, paralyzed patients simply have to think what they want to do, and the brain implant translates those motor cortex signals into point-and-click commands.

This innovation has opened up a variety of new opportunities for patients previously oppressed by detriments to their physical and mental health. According to neurosurgeon Jaimie Henderson, bioengineer Paul Nuyujukian, and electrical engineer Krishna Shenoy’s PLOS ONE paper describing their engineering feat, “[one participant] enjoyed using the musical keyboard. In fact, this was one of her earliest requests of the research team when she joined the study: to play music again. Providing her with a music keyboard interface on the tablet computer was as simple as installing an application from the Internet.”

Not only is this brain implant a colossal step forward in the science and engineering sectors, but it also delves into the core of entrepreneurship. Creating a startup revolves around the idea of solving a problem, of working to mitigate dissatisfaction with the workings of the world. This brain implant was not created simply to advance the biomedical engineering industry with a renowned product; it was created to provide a source of happiness to paralyzed patients deprived of skills that most people take for granted. Skills like being able to communicate with loved ones, to watch videos and surf the Internet, to compose music or play an online instrument. As Henderson, who performed two of the three implantation surgeries at Stanford Hospital, explained, “It was wonderful to see the participants express themselves or just find a song they want to hear.”

Image Source and Article Source: https://engineering.stanford.edu/magazine/article/patients-paralysis-use-brain-signals-operate-tablet

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