In first neuroprosthetic, ALS patient sends social media messages through

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Philip O’Keefe, a 62-year-old amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) patient in Australia, recently became the first person to post a message on social media using only his thoughts. On 23 December, he posted an initial short message “Hello World” on Twitter.

The technology that allowed O’Keefe to send his message was developed by the brain computer interface company, Synchron – the device is called the Stentrod Brain Computer Interface (SBCI); A type of endovascular brain implant. It was implanted into O’Keefe’s brain without opening his skull—instead, it was inserted through his jugular vein. The tiny (8 mm) brain implant was designed to allow people who have lost the ability to communicate using only their thoughts. The SBCI is wireless and works by reading brainwaves and translating them into words—the motor neuroprosthesis was placed in O’Keefe’s brain using techniques that have been used for many years to treat people with stroke. Human clinical trials have been going on in Australia for more than a year—currently, the device has only been implanted in one other person, but more are planned.

O’Keefe, like other ALS patients, experienced progressive paralysis, leaving him unable to speak earlier this year. The SBCI was implanted in April and began using it to communicate shortly thereafter – he is now able to write messages by thinking of words or actions (such as mouse clicks), which are translated on a computer screen. carried out in the activity. His history-making social media message was posted on Twitter using the account of Synchron CEO Thomas Oxley. His initial message was followed by a lengthy text explaining how he had come to embrace the new technology. He also noted that he hopes his participation in the SBCI program will help pave the way for a new type of technology that will allow people who have lost their ability to speak or move to regain their independence.

Officials with Synchron have mentioned in the past that they plan to expand on the SBCI to include the development of devices that can be used to treat conditions such as Parkinson’s, high blood pressure, epilepsy and even depression. can also be used to diagnose


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Citation: In the first neuroprosthetic, ALS patient sends social media messages via brain-computer interface (2021, December 28), published March 30, 2022 at https://techxplore.com/news/2021-12-neuroprosthetic-als-patient -social- is retrieved from. media.html

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