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    Thursday, April 07, 2005

    The Brain Machine

    In a small lab in the New York State Health Department, someone is testing the brain touque. The hat looks funny, and is most definately not tin foil. In fact, each polka dot shows the location of an electrode which transmits brainwaves to a computer.

    With this device, paralyzed people could posibly learn to do extraordinary things! The goal is to use your mind to control an image on a computer screen, attempting to hit small targets. Some people can actually succeed 90% of the time, showing that a keyboard simply isn't necessary to accomplish certain tasks.

    A quadriplegic man in Massachusetts has shown he can change TV channels, turn room lights on and off, open and close a robotic hand and sort through messages in a mock e-mail program.

    Seven paralyzed patients near Stuttgart, Germany, have been surfing the Internet and writing letters to friends from their homes.

    At a lab in Switzerland, two healthy volunteers learned to steer a 2-inch, two-wheeled robot β€” sort of like a tiny wheelchair β€” through a dollhouse-sized floor plan.

    And at labs in several universities, monkeys operate mechanical arms with just their brains. At the University of Pittsburgh, a monkey can feed itself chunks of zucchini and orange slices this way.

    The overall goal of this research is to use electronic sugnals from the brain to control computers and other machines, so that people with severe mobility and disability problems can control their environments without literally moving. There have been great leaps and bounds in this research in the last few years due to increasing research of the brain, computers and electronics.

    β€œThe field, in the last four or five years, has kind of exploded,” said Dr. Jonathan Wolpaw, a researcher in the field.

    All opinions shared on this site are strictly my own. Some people may disagree and that is fine, but rude comments or overzealous debate will be curtailed. I enjoy civil discourse, and encourage independent thought. I oppose George W. Bush and his Wars based on lies.

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