The first ever individual to tweet a message addressing the world with just the use of his thought and no other muscle is an Australian man who suffers from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
Australian brain computer interface company Synchron made a press release on Thursday describing how one of its patients, Philip O’Keefe, man who is of age 62 with ALS, was the first to tweet with the use of implantable brain-computer interface directly via thought. ALS has left O’Keefe paralysed.
“Hello, world!” O’Keefe tweeted from the official twitter account of Synchron CEO Thomas Oxley. “Short tweet. Monumental progress.”
hello, world! Short tweet. Monumental progress.— Thomas Oxley (@tomoxl) December 23, 2021
“My hope is that I’m paving the way for people to tweet through thoughts,” he wrote in his next Twitter post.
my hope is that I'm paving the way for people to tweet through thoughts phil— Thomas Oxley (@tomoxl) December 23, 2021
O’Keefe came into possession of the Stentrode brain-computer interface, according to Synchron, in April 2020. He had been left unable to communicate with any of his close friends or family as a result of ALS.
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But a new set of small, stent-mounted array of electrodes implanted within his brain via the jugular vein provided him with the ability to reconnect with the world again.
“When I first heard about this technology, I knew how much independence it could give back to me. The system is astonishing, it’s like learning to ride a bike – it takes practice, but once you’re rolling, it becomes natural.
“Now, I just think about where on the computer I want to click, and I can email, bank, shop, and now message the world via Twitter,” O’Keefe said in a statement.
O’Keefe is in the process of reconnecting with the world, claims Synchron.
“These fun holiday tweets are actually an important moment for the field of implantable brain computer interfaces,” Oxley said in the statement.
“They highlight the connection, hope and freedom that BCIs give to people like Phil who have had so much of their functional independence taken away due to debilitating paralysis.”
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The implantable brain-computer interface developed by Synchron is quite similar to Neuralink, a high-tech mind-machine interface company from Elon Musk. Neuralink claims that it can “enable someone with paralysis to use a smartphone with their mind faster than someone using thumbs.”
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