A middle-aged lady suffering from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, which causes progressive motor neuron damage, and paralyzed from the neck down was able to communicate with the outside world by controlling a Nexus Tablet to her brainwaves. Severely paralyzed patients are in a state called “locked-in”. They are fully aware of themselves and their surroundings, but they cannot move a finger. Dr. Paul Nuyujukian, a neuroengineer and physician from Stanford University, and his team succeeded in bypassing cumbersome eye or head tracking equipment, and instead created a customizable and affordable device that doesn't need physical electrodes. The device uses a tiny microarray chip with Bluetooth connection, which is directly implanted into the brain. Neural signals can be identified by complex algorithms and used in real time to control mouse cursors. "We were going to design our own touchscreen hardware, but then realized the best ones were already on the market" Nuyujukian said. "So we went on Amazon instead and bought a Nexus 9 tablet. One of the upsides of this is that the interface, didn’t look like it was designed in the 80s. Also she now has access to the entire Android app store". The patient was able to Google questions about gardening, also thanks to the autocompletion feature of the search engine, which proved to be an incredibly helpful aid. She could easily navigate through links and use the standard QWERTY keyboard with ease. "Our goal is to unlock the full user interface common to general-purpose computers and mobile devices" Nuyujukian explained. "This is a first step towards developing a fully-capable brain-controlled communication and computer interface for restoring function for people with paralysis". Source: Singularity HUB. Image: India future society

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  • Felicity, You rightly question if this isn't it too much for a human-being. You can easily imagine such brain extensions may lead to overload of the brain, but then you realize that we are already extending our brains with books, newspapers, displays, that already give us this kind of stress today. So yes, we will have to design for this. If the connection becomes more intimate this only becomes more urgent. (KVM)

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  • Felicity, You rightly question if this isn't it too much for a human-being. You can easily imagine such brain extensions may lead to overload of the brain, but then you realize that we are already extending our brains with books, newspapers, displays, that already give us this kind of stress today. So yes, we will have to design for this. If the connection becomes more intimate this only becomes more urgent.

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  • Isn't it too much for a human-being? I wonder what people will do, if they have such an opportunity with their brains. Is that all because of the nature of a person to grab everything and at once? I'm not an avid activist, but I think it's of a crucial importance to see what we can do to the environment when we use all the devices we have at once. Has anyone thought about that? Of course, there is http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/ and there is http://greenpeace.co.uk/ and hundreds of activists, but what have been done? Nothing. Felicity You can also read about the Earth Day by Felicity Keystone at http://ow.ly/4n67jv

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