Brain-Twitter project offers hope to paralyzed patients

Many of us are on twitter (@usrlocal), and for the most part, there isn’t a whole lot productive that happens there. Sure, some people are using it for marketing, some are using it to keep up with friends, some are just being stupid. Yes folks, there are some people that literally tell us that they are drinking coffee and reading the paper. Guess what, I don’t freaking care!!!

But this is freaking AWESOME!

Adam Wilson posted two messages on Twitter on April 15. The first one, “GO BADGERS,” might have been sent by any University of Wisconsin-Madison student cheering for the school team.

His second post, 20 minutes later, was a little more unusual: “SPELLING WITH MY BRAIN.”

Wilson, a doctoral student in biomedical engineering, was confirming an announcement he had made two weeks earlier — his lab had developed a way to post messages on Twitter using electrical impulses generated by thought.

That’s right, no keyboards, just a red cap fitted with electrodes that monitor brain activity, hooked up to a computer flashing letters on a screen. Wilson sent the messages by concentrating on the letters he wanted to “type,” then focusing on the word “twit” at the bottom of the screen to post the message.

The development could be a lifeline for people with “locked-in syndrome” — whose brains function normally but who cannot speak or move because of injury or disease.


Yeah, you read that right. Communicating with just your brain, no arms, fingers, legs, pencil in the mouth, just his freaking thoughts. Amazing!

I’m excited to see this sort of innovation happening now.

Matt Patterson avatar
About Matt Patterson
Husband, Father of 3, Programmer at heart, spends his days running ridiculously large data centers in the midwest.