Patient with ALS in Australia first person to tweet using direct thought via brain-computer interface

ALS Patient Tweets “Hello, World!” Using Brain Implant

Philip O’Keefe, an Australian man with ALS, has become the first person to tweet using only his thoughts.

O’Keefe received an endovascular Stentrode brain computer interface (BCI) in April 2020, which allows him to control digital devices with his mind.

In a tweet on December 25, 2022, O’Keefe wrote, “hello, world!” He used the hashtag #HelloWorldBCI to share his experience with the world and offer inspiration for the future.

O’Keefe’s tweet is a significant milestone for the field of BCI research. It shows that BCIs have the potential to restore independence and communication for people with ALS and other paralyzing conditions.

How does the Stentrode BCI work?

The Stentrode BCI is implanted in the brain through the jugular vein. It contains a small chip that records electrical signals from the brain. These signals are then sent to a computer, which converts them into commands that can be used to control digital devices.

The Stentrode BCI is designed to be user-friendly and dependable. Patients can learn to use it in a matter of weeks.

What are the benefits of the Stentrode BCI?

The Stentrode BCI can help people with ALS to regain a degree of independence. They can use it to control their computers, phones, and other devices. They can also use it to communicate with their loved ones.

The Stentrode BCI could also be used to help people with other paralyzing conditions, such as spinal cord injury and stroke.

What are the limitations of the Stentrode BCI?

The Stentrode BCI is still in its early stages of development. It is not yet clear how long it will last or how effective it will be in the long term.

The Stentrode BCI is also not a cure for ALS. It cannot stop the progression of the disease.

What is the future of BCI research?

BCI research is rapidly advancing. Scientists are working on developing BCIs that are more powerful, more user-friendly, and more durable.

BCIs have the potential to revolutionize the way we treat a wide range of neurological conditions. They could help people with ALS, spinal cord injury, stroke, and other paralyzing conditions to regain their independence and quality of life.

More information on BusinessWire here.

The Captcha Conundrum & Accessible Alternatives

How to tell legitimate users apart from automated systems in an accesible way has been a problem for developers of accessible web sites for a long time. Here at Visits Unlimited we use invisible systems on comment, contact and log in forms that minimise the risk of causing accessibility problems but even these can cause problems on occasion.

Raghavendra Satish Peri has written an interesting article at discussing different methods, their advantages and disadvantages, and problems on the methods used by very large sites.

…I wanted to contribute to the accessibility pages on Wikipedia recently and decided to make an account. I thought the process would be easy to register and start making edits, but I was quickly proved wrong. It requires solving a CAPTCHA.

I thought there might be an alternative method to complete my registration, but the whole exercise to find an alternative on Wikipedia frustrated me. In fact, I never found an alternative that day that used audio or a one-time confirmation code sent to a mobile device.

This is what it’s like to be a visually impaired person who uses the internet. Even the world’s most popular sites aren’t completely accessible.

You can read the full article on Digital A11Y’s accessibility blog here.