Technologies impact on Medicine

Typing with thoughts

Paralysis is loss of muscle function for one or more muscles. It’s easy to find patients that due to a large variety of disease they end up having a muscular malfunction. One of the most frequents disease with this type of consequences is stroke. Strokes a.k.a CVA, very frequently left aphasia as a consequence of a cerebral ischemia. Communication with this patients or others can be difficult and until now solutions there weren’t solutions for those who had a total paralysis.

Dr. Jonathan R. Wolpaw and it’s team has developed an interface to ease the communication with those patients. They have built a system that require minimal interaction but it’s extremely powerful. BCI, the interface, allows people to use electrical signals from the brain, rather than muscles, to select letters for word-processing. During the process, a flashing matrix of letters is shown in a screen visible to the user. Each letter displays a unique flashing pattern, so when you focus on one, your brain activity mirrors that letter’s flashing pattern, and the computer can figure out which part of the flashing matrix has caught your attention.

It’s clear that there is a whole new world for the medicine that just started with projects like BCI.