The ultimate brainwave

Perhaps it’s the loss of Sam that makes this all the more pertinent but when Steve Lee Tweeted about software that allows you to manipulate a computer interface I sat up and listened.

I’ve tracked various developments in access tech for the severely paralysed for a while now looking at Brainfingers, the Brain Twitter Interface and even asking if there is something in Opera’s April Fool’s of Face Gestures (see from the sublime to the ridiculous and back again) but this is the most extreme piece of software I’ve come across.

Designed for sufferers of conditions such as locked-in syndrome – where the body is completely paralysed but the mind is absolutely fine – OpenVibe is s system where you can link a person to a computer interface and have them visually select letters on screen.

It’s a slow process but a release for someone who may have to rely on communicating by just blinking as French journalist Jean-Dominique Bauby had to after suffering locked-in syndrome when he woke up from a coma caused by a stroke. Together with a nurse who would show him letters he was able to write a memoir entitled The Diving Bell and the Butterfly explaining what goes through the mind of someone who is perfectly healthy but trapped in a body that wont respond.

Read more about OpenVibe and the video on BBC Click.