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Brain implant allows fully paralysed patient to spell words and phrases

Communication is slow at one letter per minute but further developments may improve the pace


Key points from article :

A completely locked-in patient is implanted with a device that enables him to control a keyboard with his mind.

Locked-in syndrome is a condition where people are conscious but are unable to move/speak due to paralysis of voluntary muscles.

Scientists implanted two microelectrode arrays into the brain involved in planning and controlling voluntary movements.

A spelling programallows to select letters one at a time to form words and phrases.

“If you have a choice of no communication, and a communication of one character per minute, the choice is very obvious,” Ujwal Chaudhary, co-led researcher.

“First study to achieve communication by someone who has no remaining voluntary movement,” - Jonas Zimmermann, co-author.

Chaudhary hopes to enable words to be spelled out faster, and to create a dictionary for patients to choose common words/sentences.

Further studies to demonstrate the safety and efficacy of the approach.

Study by Wyss Center for Bio and Neuroengineering published in Nature Communications.

Mentioned in this article:

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Jonas Zimmermann

Neuroscientist at Wyss Center for Bio and Neuroengineering

Nature Communications

Journal covering all topics in physics, chemistry, and biology

Ujwal Chaudhary

Founder and managing director of ALS Voice gGmbH

Wyss Center for Bio and Neuroengineering

Neurotechnology research institute in Geneva, Switzerland.

Topics mentioned on this page:
Brain Interface