Adam Wilson, a doctoral student in biomedical engineering, posted two tweets recently, one; “GO BADGERS” and the second “SPELLING WITH MY BRAIN”.
Out of the two, it’s likely the second is the one that caught your eye. It’s true, Wilson has developed a way to tweet using electrical impulses generated by thought.
Wilson, without the need for any computer equipment aside from a red cap fitted with electrodes was able to focus on individual letters in his mind to spell the words he was looking to type. When he was ready to post about it, he would focus his mind on the ‘twit’ link and post the tweet.
The goal of this and other similarly focused projects is to help the many people who are physically paralyzed but mentally well, communicate.
In an interview with CNN, Wilson says:
“These are people who have ALS, like Stephen Hawking, or they have a brainstem stroke, or a high spinal-cord injury,” Williams explained. “There is nothing wrong with these people’s brains. It’s a normal person, locked into a lifeless, useless body.”
Another scientist, Kevin Otto, an assistant professor of biomedical engineering at Purdue University comments on the case:
“Twitter fits so many of our needs and patients’ capabilities…If I am locked in and I want to e-mail someone, the format is all wrong. You have to be able to select recipients and group them, copy, paste, send. … Twitter takes care of all those things. They just have to get [the message] to a location where people can come and find it,” he said.
Justin Williams, Wilson’s supervisor, believes the interface could be available commercially soon and although nothing has been set in stone, Wilson will be running preclinical trials with subjects in New York and Germany in May.