Image Credit: Pixabay
Philip O-Keefe, a 62-year-old Australian man suffering from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as motor neurone disease (MND), a rare neurological disease which affects the central nervous system eventually causing paralysis, has become the first person to compose a tweet using his thoughts through a brain-computer/brain-chip interface.
O-Keefe’s first of eight tweets, which were posted to the Synchron CEO Thomas Oxley’s twitter account, the company responsible for the brain-computer interface/chip, read “No need for keystrokes or voices. I created this tweet just by thinking it.” His final tweet reads “My hope is that I’m paving the way for people to tweet through thoughts.”
Since Synchron was founded in 2012, the privately owned company’s brain-computer interface called “The Stentrode” was awarded “Breakthrough Device Designation” by the FDA in 2020.
In 2021, Synchron became the first company to receive full FDA approval for an Investigational Device Exemption (IDE) to conduct trials of the permanently implantable Brain-Computer Interface (BCI), according to the company’s website.
Neuralink Brain-Chip & The Stentrode: Side by Side
Unlike Elon’s Neuralink Brain-Chip, The Stentrode BCI was inserted into O-Keefe’s jugular vein, in order to avoid invasive brain surgery, one of the core values and goals to be upheld and achieved by Synchron and it’s founders.
Since being inserted and successfully tested, O-Keefe has been able to reconnect with loved ones online, something which he is unable to do in person due to his ALS, as reported by The Independent.
O’Keefe said in response to the surgery that “The system is astonishing, it’s like learning to ride a bike – it takes practice, but once you’re rolling, it becomes natural. Now, I just think about where on the computer I want to click, and I can email, bank, shop, and now message the world via Twitter.”