Brain Implant Restores Ability to Communicate

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Brain Implant Restores Ability to Communicate

A pair of experimental microchips restored a 34-year-old's ability to communicate. Suffering from locked-in syndrome, the patient lost the ability to move or speak but retained awareness. Similar devices have repaired communication for people with ALS, but this is the most advanced pseudocoma ever successfully treated.

Sounds complicated? It is. The patient agreed to the implants before completely losing their motor skills. Each chip detects conscious attempts to move and sends that brain activity to a computer. The computer translates the impulse into signals. The patient began with only “yes” and “no,” but, with practice, they are able to spell words and form sentences. 

The accuracy is not perfect. Some days the patient can only say “yes” or “no.” Other days, he uses complete sentences to thank his family for their care, ask to hear TOOL (his favorite band), or invite his son to watch a movie with him. 

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