This may soon be a reality. WTN writes that that Adam Wilson was able to post 23 characters to Twitter – using thoughts alone. Wilson, a University of Wisconsin-Madison biomedical engineering doctoral student, is trying to perfect a communication system for those who no longer have functional control over their own bodies. The brain interface was developed in collaboration with research scientist Gerwin Schalk and colleagues (Wadsworth Center in Albany, N.Y. ), Williams (a UW-Madison Assistant Professor of biomedical engineering) and Wilson were able to come up with a new method for communication. The individual uses a keyboard displayed on a computer screen, and looks for the letter he/she wants to type – apparently when the brain recognizes what it was looking for there is a change in brain activity allowing the computer to understand that you want to select that letter.
Williams hopes the Twitter application is the nudge researchers need to refine development of the in-home technology. “A lot of the things that we’ve been doing are more scientific exercises,” he says. “This is one of the first examples where we’ve found something that would be immediately useful to a much larger community of people with neurological deficits.”