Nerve-tapping Communication and Mobility

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This a demonstration of a device (already in commercialization) that can decipher nerve impulses created by thought and translate them into speech. The video below is the first ‘telepathic’ phone call. I would expect to be shown something like this, but I just found it:

And those same voice signals have been processed into directions for a wheelchair prototype in the style of Xavier from X-men. I imagine the ‘driver’ thinks ‘left’ ‘go’ ‘right’ ‘stop’ — all while clasping his hands in a t-pee like Sherlock Holmes as he contemplates his next move:

http://video.google.com/googleplayer.swf?docId=3768347896685726075&hl=en

Let’s talk a little bit about technological potential. The brain machine interfaces scientists have been working on for perhaps three decades will soon reach the point where no computer input will ever be required. Just as voice recognition (and computer speech) has become natural and reliable, so will our ‘telepathic’ communication with computers become efficient and effortless. While this isn’t the first instance of voice communication from brain–>machine–>audio, the fact that New Scientist has featured/sensationalized this feat on their Youtube channel means people will soon began to think of what this means.

In terms of brain input, there’s also a great deal of research into creating artificial vision. A cochlear implant for the eyes (in the form of a strange tooth implant) has given blind people sight. In thirty years the “interface” between machines and people as a concept may soon be spoken of as something silly that the primitive Gen-‘information age’ folks toiled over.

From: Telepathic Chat [New Scientist -March 12, 2008]
Also see ‘Is this the Bionic Man’ [Nature]

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