Tuesday, November 10

Spelling With Your Brain On Twitter

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Adam Wilson posted two messages on Twitter on April 15, 2009 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.

Wilson and his supervisor, Justin Williams, made the breakthrough last month after hearing a question posed on the radio.

"Wouldn't it be great if you could Twitter just by thinking about it?"

That query sparked what Williams called the "a-ha moment."

"We can do that," said Williams, an assistant professor and the principal investigator at the lab in Madison, Wisconsin. "We can do that tomorrow."

In the end, it wasn't quite "tomorrow," Williams said, but Wilson had written the software to link existing technology with Twitter "within a couple of days" of starting on the project in March.

He sent Williams his first "tweet" -- or message -- from the brain-computer interface on March 31st, 2009.

Source: Richard Allen Greene

I would love to have this option for all of the social networks. What do you think?

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