More than 15 years ago, a man who was only 20 years old had a massive stroke when a major artery supplying his brain stem burst. The incident left him unable to control his limbs or any muscles related to speech. With a device that relied on his head motions to control a keyboard, he could produce about five words a minute, one character at a time. The typical rate when someone is speaking fluidly can be up to 200 words a minute.
Now he is the first person ever to produce whole words via a computer intermediate that decodes his brain’s messages. A processor connected to an array of electrodes implanted in his brain receives the messages and translates them into words displayed on a screen. As researchers reported on July 14 in the New England Journal of Medicine, the man, who is now in his late 30s, used this brain-computer interface, or BCI, to produce whole words outside of his brain for the first time since his stroke. In fact, with a suite of at least 50 words, he could even transmit up to 1,000 complete sentences.
8-6-2021 (August 6, 2021) is the Snakiest day of the year and it’s also this year’s CircuitPython Day! The day highlights all things CircuitPython and Python on Hardware. See you there!
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