Mind-Reading Computer Gives Voice, Movement to the Paralyzed

New technology may help those who are locked inside their own bodies.

by / November 1, 2011

From the National Science Foundation: "Imagine living a life in which you are completely aware of the world around you but you're prevented from engaging in it because you are completely paralyzed. Even speaking is impossible. For an estimated 50,000 Americans this is a harsh reality. It's called locked-in syndrome, a condition in which people with normal cognitive brain activity suffer severe paralysis, often from injuries or an illness such as Lou Gehrig's disease. Boston University neuroscientist Frank Guenther works with the National Science Foundation's Center of Excellence for Learning in Education, Science and Technology (CELEST), which is made up of eight private and public institutions, mostly in the Boston area. Its purpose is to synthesize the experimental modeling and technological approaches to research in order to understand how the brain learns as a whole system. In particular, Guenther's research is looking at how brain regions interact, with the hope of melding mind and machine, and ultimately making life much better for people with locked-in syndrome"