In a medical first, researchers have harnessed the brain waves of a paralyzed man unable to speak to help him communicate better.
The man, whose identity was not released due to privacy concerns, used a baseball cap that had a pointer attached to it that communicated for him when he moved his head to touch words or letters on a screen, the Associated Press reported.
Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, implanted electrodes on the surface of the man's brain.
A computer analyzed patterns of the words he tried, but failed, to say — and turned those signals into sentences on a computer screen.
It will take years of additional research.
The man was prompted with questions like “How are you today?” or “Are you thirsty.”
The man was able to answer through the device with “I am very good” or “No I am not thirsty.”
The man wasn't able to voice the words, but answer them vocally but through text.
But the study published Wednesday marks an important step toward restoring more natural communication for people who can't talk because of injury or illness.