The world's first tweet written in thought is from a paralyzed 62-year-old

Gianluca Riccio

Technology

Tweet with thought

The Australian company Synchron claims primacy: a brain implant allows this and other functions to a paralyzed patient.

A company that implants neural computing interfaces in the brain says a patient paralyzed by a nervous system disease shared an update on social media simply by thinking it.

A 62-year-old man in Australia with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a disease that causes paralysis of muscles, is now able to broadcast his thoughts on social media without the use of muscle activity. It lets you know Synchron, the company that gave him this ability: the world's first tweet written in thought.

I created this tweet just by thinking about it ” – we read in the tweet published by Philip O'Keefe on the Synchron CEO account Thomas Oxley.

Tweet with thought
A stentrode, an endovascular brain implant, seen up close

The “first thought-directed tweet” was created wirelessly from O'Keefe's brain, according to the company. Following progressive paralysis caused by ALS, last year the man had installed a brain computer interface called “Stentrode“. The plant, “designed to allow patients to wirelessly control digital devices through thought“, was inserted through the jugular vein to avoid perforating the skull.

Not Synchron's first record

Prior to this tweet, the Australian company has already established a world first: in July it became the first in the world to have received approval from the American FDA for the tests of a permanent brain implant.

“Now I just think about what I want to do on the computer and it happens,” O'Keefe said. He says the “incredible” system takes practice, just like learning to ride a bike. But once you get used to it, it becomes natural.

I find it fantastic news. This tweet shows that neural implant technology has given a man with paralysis back the ability to reconnect with the world and engage in self-sustaining activities.

In 2022 (pending news from Neuralink, Elon Musk's company) Synchron's brain-computer interface will be further developed in a human study.

I can't wait to read the tweet announcing the results.

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