watch almost any science fiction TV show or have seen science fiction
over the past several decades, you know that one of the staple devices
is a computer
that understands human speech. But how about a computer that can
respond to thoughts?
Believe it or not, it's here.
technology is still at a rudimentary stage, but the principle has
demonstrated definitively: At present it involves a chip implanted
brain, and a bulky external device that picks up the signals
transmitted by the
chip. In a recent demonstration in Stoughton, Massachusetts, a
(someone who has no use of arms or legs) guided a ball on a computer
a target, just by thinking.
possibilities for mind-responsive computers are breathtaking, with
benefits such as the ability of spinal cord injury victims to
perform all the
actions that their hands would otherwise have performed, and even to
use of some or all limbs. It might someday provide correction for some
problems just as a pacemaker adjusts heart rate. The total potential
be far beyond anything we can dream at present.
Based on a
report in The Record newspaper of November 21, 2004