18 October 1998

Plug Your Finger Into The Serial Socket And Download

Dr Roy Bakay of Emory University, Georgia has developed a technique which allows human brain cells to fuse with an electronic implant allowing the person to communicate directly with a computer. Announcing his success at the Congress of Neurological Surgeons in Seattle, Dr Bakay informed the meeting that he has a patient, known only as JR, who has been able to use the implant to move a cursor around the computer screen.

Dr Bakay said 'If you can move the cursor you can stop on certain icons, send email, turn lights on or off and interact with the environment'.

The most immediate application of this technique will be to allow people who are totally paralysed to express their thoughts and even to control artifical limbs.

Dr Bakay goes on to say 'The trick is teaching the patient to control the strength and pattern of the electric impulses being produced in the brain'. After training they are able to 'will' a cursor to move and then stop.