Some paralyzed folk feel as though they are trapped in a “prison”, having failed to use their motor functions before their paralysis, and this can be quite a challenging and disheartening place to be in. However, there is hope in the form of a new brain scanner which was specially developed in order to help those who are completely paralyzed, by allowing them to “speak” using just the power of their thoughts. This is made possible thanks to the implementation of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) that will enable patients to select between 27 characters – the alphabet and of course, a blank space. I guess future versions would include punctuations and numbers, too.
This unique brain scanner can pick up the finer nuances, as each character results in a different pattern of blood flow in the brain, hence enabling the device to interpret such patterns. The British Neurological Association claimed the research as “exciting”, and I quite agree with them. It would certainly help one bridge communication with a fully paralyzed person, and who knows – one of the world’s greatest novels might eventually be “written” by thought alone down the road.
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