The power of the mind

I read an article in the newspaper El País (5/17/2012) that caught my attention: “Two paralytics move their artificial arm with the mind,” which explains how an implant captures the power of the thoughts.

Brain activity is performed through a series of electrical pulses that are generated in the cerebral cortex, where the idea of three-dimensional movement is formed and transmitted to the muscles by the nervous system. In the case of people who received the implant, this mechanism did not work. The electrode introduced in their brain, that is just as thick as a hair, captures electrical signals when the patient’s brain focus in a concrete action.

The project name whose name is BrainGate, started in 2004 in the U.S. and results are expected in the medium and long term due to the high economic costs of the electrode and the special training to teach people to focus and direct their energy towards a specific idea.

This reminded me of Stephen Hawking, getting disabled by amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), who has received many international awards for his scientific researchs in physics, cosmos and other specialties.  In 1985, he had a tracheotomy and since then he has used a voice synthesizer to communicate. The wheelchair he uses in public is controlled by a computer that runs through slight movements of the eyes and head, which allows Hawking to select words and phrases issued by speech synthesizer. Thanks to these technological advances, a genius like he has been able to share his knowledge.

All this prove the enormous power of the mind and, of course, our ignorance of the potential there is waiting to be used.  We have a wonderful machine and we don’t  know how it works. I think we can improve our knowledge of our brain and its unlimited power. Today is a good day to start doing it. Don´t you think so?

 

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