Brain wave communication research makes breakthrough

Jun 21, 2015 10:35 pm
Vice reports that scientists in Albany, New York just turned a person's thoughts into a legible phrase using what they're calling a "brain-to-text" interface. Researchers at the National Center for Adaptive Neurotechnologies and the State University of New York at Albany worked on the brain wave study, but it wasn't quite the kind of mind reading you may have seen in the movies. Instead, surgeons opened up skulls and electrode sheets were attached directly to brains in the study. Clearly the research into brain wave communication is in the early stages. Peter Brunner at the University of Albany said the research is primitive at this point. "I liken it to having a helicopter over a crowd of cheering people. If you're near them, you can hear them cheering, but you can't hear individual people. If you put a microphone on one or two people, you're able to hear them, but you can't hear the overall picture. But if you put electrodes all over the surface of the brain—giving microphones to groups of people cheering—you can figure out what those groups are cheering for." Three years ago, Gerwin Schalk, Ph.D., associate professor of neurology at the Albany Medical College and a research scientist at the Wadsworth Center of the state Department of Health told the Troy Record about similar research, "My colleagues at the Wadsworth Center are already using this technology for patients with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or Lou Gehrig's Disease) to do simple communication."