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Wayne Adult Community Center

From the January, 2005 Cyberspace News

A Computer That Understands Thoughts?

If you watch almost any science fiction TV show or have seen science fiction films 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.

 
The technology is still at a rudimentary stage, but the princi­ple has been demonstrated defini­tively: At present it involves a chip implanted on the brain, and a bulky external device that picks up the signals transmitted by the chip. In a recent demonstration in Stoughton, Massachusetts, a para­plegic (someone who has no use of arms or legs) guided a ball on a computer screen to a target, just by thinking.

 
The possibilities for mind-responsive computers are breathtaking, with potential 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 regain the use of some or all limbs. It might someday provide correction for some brain problems just as a pacemaker adjusts heart rate. The total potential may well be far beyond anything we can dream at present.

Based on a report in The Record newspa­per of November 21, 2004


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