Date: Oct 21, 1998 5:46 PM
Author: Jerry P. Becker
Subject: Implant Allows Brain to Communicate With Computer

Southern Illinoisan,  Carbondale, IL,  Wednesday, October 21, 1998  [front
page]

Implant Allows Brain to Communicate With Computer

Implant amplifies, transmits signals

Atlanta (AP) -- A Star Trek-type implant that enables direct
communication between the brain and a computer is allowing a paralyzed,
mute stroke victim to use his brainpower to move a cursor across a screen
and convey simple messages such as hello and goodbye.

Researchers believe the tiny implant the size of the tip of a ballpoint pen
is the first device that allows direct communication between the brain and
a computer.

"Of all things people lose, the ability to communicate is the most
frightening thing -- to know what you want to say and not be able to say
it," said Dr. Warren Selman, a neurosurgeon at University Hospitals of
Cleveland not involved in the research. "This is the first step to
unlocking that."

Doctors implanted a device into the 53-year-old man's brain that amplifies
his brain signals. Those signals are then transmitted to a laptop computer
through an antenna-like coil placed on his head.

Like a computer mouse, the brain signals can move a cursor across the
computer screen and point at icons with messages such as "See you later.
Nice talking with you." The man can also use the cursor to tell others that
he is hungry or thirsty.

"It's like we're making the mouse the patient's brain," said Dr. Roy Bakay,
one of two Emory University doctors who developed the technology.

Eventually, researchers hope to use the technology to teach patients to
write letters, send e-mail and turn lights off and on via computer.
---------------------
Photo not included here: Hard-wired: An implant that enables direct
communication between the brain and a computer is shown Tuesday in this
X-ray.

********************************************************
Jerry P. Becker
Dept. of Curriculum & Instruction
Southern Illinois University
Carbondale, IL 62901-4610 USA
Fax: (618)453-4244
Phone: (618)453-4241 (office)
E-mail: JBECKER@SIU.EDU