It was one of the great “eureka” moments in the history of neuroscience, caught on film as it was taking place in London, Ont.
The patient, Scott Routley, was severely brain-injured in 1999 after being hit by a police car. Given only two years to live at that time, he had already far exceeded medical augury, but the doctors who had examined him for more than a dozen years could find no signs of awareness in him.
He was unable to communicate with the outside world, seemingly in a vegetative state. But was the 39-year-old secretly aware? Was a working mind trapped in his immobilized body?
So Adrian Owen, a neuroscientist at the University of Western Ontario’s Brain and Mind Institute, put Mr. Routley in a real-time, functional-magnetic-resonance-imaging (fMRI) scanner. The doctor asked the patient to choose one of two kinds of mental imagery to answer the question of whether he was in pain. In effect, the fMRI said Mr. Routley had answered “no.”
The moment was a double first: the first time in the world any patient of this sort had been able to tell doctors anything medically relevant, and the first time such a patient had been able to communicate instantaneously.
So the article above deals with interesting developments in the field of brain computer interfacing that is helping us to integrate technology with the mind to do incredible things and may one day give us the ability to communicate telepathically with others. Do you think this would be a good thing? What would be the gains and risks involved? What if nobody could have any secrets from others? How would society change? Would we become more open and tolerant or continue to reject perceptions that differ from our own? etc.
Here is another interesting related link about a program that converts thought to words: http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/20...am-brain-words