Paralyzed ALS Patient Operates Speech Computer With Her Mind

Paralyzed ALS Patient Operates Speech Computer With Her Mind

Published By: UMC Utrecht (University Medical Center Utrecht), 11/13/2016

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A patient suffering from ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) at UMC Utrecht, a hospital in the Netherlands, recently received a brain implant that allows her to remotely operate a speech computer with her mind. The patient can use this computer to communicate with her friends and family at home. If initial trials prove successful, the implants could see larger, international trials which lead to the development of even more advanced implants.

Extended Discussion Questions

  • The implant is able to convert specific impulses from the brain into usable input for a computer. What are some other potential applications for technology like this?
  • Think of someone you know who is disabled.
    • Do they use computing technology to help them do things others do without using computing?
    • Can you imagine a future computing technology that would help them do something they can’t do today?
  • What does this research tell us about the similarities between the brain and computers? About differences?

Relating This Story to the CSP Curriculum Framework

Global Impact Learning Objectives:

  • LO 7.1.1 Explain how computing innovations affect communication, interaction, and cognition.
  • LO 7.2.1 Explain how computing has impacted innovations in other fields.

Global Impact Essential Knowledge:

  • EK 7.1.1L Computing contributes to many assistive technologies that enhance human capabilities.

Banner Image: “Network Visualization – Violet – Offset Crop”, derivative work by ICSI. New license: CC BY-SA 4.0. Based on “Social Network Analysis Visualization” by Martin Grandjean. Original license: CC BY-SA 3.0

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