“Bring beer and curry”: how a completely paralyzed patient communicates with loved ones using a brain implant

What do you think you want most in the world?paralyzed person? Get up and go? Sit down, or maybe hug someone? No matter how. It turned out that most of all such people want simple human joys. It was possible to install it using a computer.

For example, in Germany, a patient diagnosed with“amyotrophic sclerosis” (aka ALS) was able to communicate with his family thanks to a chip that was implanted in his brain. He asked to bring him first of all beer. And also curry. Then requests for a head massage and the inclusion of the Tool group were added to the wish list.

While the program is experimental.Because of this, the rate of transmission of messages from the patient is very slow, and it took the patient about several days to complete all these requests. The speed of compiling a sentence is only one character per minute.

The communication system itself is similar to the antediluviana computer. But it is not so. A chip was implanted into the man's brain, which was connected to a computer. At the moment of typing characters, the patient imagines how his body moves, choosing certain letters, which are read by a special program. Then the computer enters the fray. It receives signals from the chips that read this information, receives a signal in the form of "yes / no". Basically the same machine code, where 1 is yes and 0 is no.

In this case, install on the patient thisThe system was possible due to the fact that he began working with doctors even when his eyes could move, and the muscles there had not yet atrophied. He asked for an invasive implant so that he could communicate with his family and young son. The German's wife and sister agreed to the operation.

As a result, the chips were implanted only in 2019, when the man could no longer move even his eyes. Then there was a long period of adjustment, and after that he gave the first wish to his relatives.

Then he asked first of all to change itposition, then asked to feed himself through a tube with different types of food. Among the wishes were goulash soup and sweet pea soup. He also told his wife and son that he loved them.

The request for curry and beer was also among thefirst. In addition, he offered his relatives to watch a movie about Robin Hood together, and he also said that his biggest desire was a new bed and a barbecue.

Some of the requests are hard to count.The fact is that the system works in English, while the man himself speaks German. And while he is the first among those who use the new technology. In order to install it for other patients, funding is needed, and the system costs a lot - 500 thousand dollars apiece.