VSL:SCIENCE // Man + machine, rewired

A grad student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison has figured out a new way to Twitter: He uses a mind-reading computer instead of a keyboard.

Adam Wilson’s “brain-machine interface” measures waves of electricity produced by the cortex as letters of the alphabet are flashed on a computer screen. When the right letter appears, the machine records and translates the corresponding brain wave. The process can be slow and laborious — it’s hard to type more than eight letters per minute — but scientists are optimistic that it will soon be used by patients with total paralysis (a.k.a. locked-in syndrome) as a method of communication.

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