A paralysed man currently undergoing research at the Wyss Center For Bio And Neuroengineering in Switzerland has communicated his first words in months after receiving a brain implant, The Independent reports.
“I want a beer,” said the completely paralysed 36-year-old. The man then asked to listen to the rock band Tool “loudly” according to his family and ordered himself a curry using his brain implant.
The man, who was left paralysed in 2019 as a result of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), had two electrode arrays implanted into his brain after being left in a locked-in state.
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Some three years later, the 36-year-old was able to communicate his first words using the brain implant. He was rendered unable to communicate months ago after losing the ability to move his eyes.
“I love my cool son” the man also said on his 4-year-old using the brain implant which works by composing characters one at a time, at a rate of just one per minute.
The man used the device to request a head massage from his mother and ordered different meal types to be fed to him using tubes. “For food I want to have curry with potato then bolognese and potato soup,” he requested.
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The Wyss Centre’s senior neuroscientist, Dr Jonas Zimmermann, said on the breakthrough moment: “Ours is the first study to achieve communication by someone who has no remaining voluntary movement and hence for whom the BCI is now the sole means of communication.”
“This study answers a long-standing question about whether people with complete locked-in syndrome – who have lost all voluntary muscle control, including movement of the eyes or mouth – also lose the ability of their brain to generate commands for communication.”
[Via The Independent]
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