Playing Pong with your brain

A man in Rhode Island can use his computer to open his email, control a TV, and play Pong. If this sounds pretty basic it takes on new meaning when you realize the man is a 25 year old quadriplegic using only his mind to accomplish these otherwise mundane computer tasks. Tiny sensors were implanted in his brain in June of this year and using a helmet that connects his brain directly to the computer he can control basic functions on his computer by just thinking them. This is the result of revolutionary research in a trial that has been approved by the FDA.

It is part of a breakthrough trial, the first of its kind, with far-reaching implications. Friday, early results were revealed at the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation annual conference. Cyberkinetics Neurotechnology Systems, the Foxborough-based company behind the technology, told attendees the man can use his thoughts to control a computer well enough to operate a TV, open e-mail and play Pong with 70% accuracy.”The patient tells me this device has changed his life,” says Jon Mukand, a physician caring for him at a rehabilitation facility in Warwick, R.I. The patient, who had the sensors implanted in June, has not been publicly identified.


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