Saturday, June 12, 2010

Typing with brain waves

JACKSONVILLE, FL (WABC) -- For people who can't talk or communicate because of injury or stroke, their own body can be a prison.

What if you could type on a computer screen just by thinking of the letters? Sounds impossible, right? Researchers are now able to do that in a lab.

Doctors at Mayo Clinic say one day patients locked in the isolation of their condition may be freed by the power of thought.

Using electroencephalography, doctors attach small electrodes to the scalp, which measure the electrical activity from the brain. This enables the translation from brain waves to words on a screen for people who can't communicate.

This new technology gives patients, who were once unable to speak, a chance to express themselves.

Jerry Shih, M.D. Mayo Clinic, said, "They know what they want to say. They can still think about what they want to do, but they can't express it. This is technology that would allow people like that to communicate with the world."

Patients with Lou Gehrig's disease and people who've had a strokes, or experienced spinal cord injuries can benefit from this groundbreaking brain wave translator.

Right now, the doctors at Mayor clinic are translating brainwaves into letters on a screen, but Dr. Shih envisions a day when your thoughts will do much more.

"It's certainly in the realm of possibility that in the next several years your brain waves can control an external device that can walk over to that pencil, pick it up and move it to write something," said Dr. Shih.

Research is already underway that explores using your brainwaves and your thoughts to move a prosthetic limb or push a wheelchair. According to Dr. Shih, this technology is in its infancy and may take ten years or more before it is ready for public use.

1 comment:

  1. Some really smart researcher out there, who would have thought you can do this with brainwaves.