On December 23, 2021, Philip O’Keefe using only his mind enabled by the microchip in his body did what is being dubbed the “first-direct-thought tweet” when he tweeted, “HELLO WORLD”!
Philip O’Keefe wanted as much of his independence back as possible after suffering from motor neuron disease that left him paralyzed and unable to use his body.
Back in April 2020, Philip O’Keefe had suffered progressive paralysis from motor neuron disease that eliminated his ability to engage in any work-related activities. Additionally, his motor neuron disease resulted on Philip O’Keefe losing his ability to engage in independent bodily activities.
Motor neuron disease (MND) is a degenerative disease that attacks the motor neurons in the brain. These motor neurons are the nerves that control your muscles and your ability to move your body parts, like your hands, your legs, etc.
People who have motor neuron diseases have messages to their muscles disrupted. Literally, no signals reach their muscles that will enable them to move their hands, legs or other body parts to carry out commands. Without having a signal, the muscles in a person who has motor neuron disease begin to stiffen, weaken and eventually waste away. Very severe cases of motor neuron disease can cause patients to need breathing assistance.
Philip O’Keefe participated in a clinical trial and had a microchip implanted in his brain. This microchip is specifically called Stentrode and is made by company called Synchron.
Synchron is a privately held company based in New York. Synchron’ s company’s slogan is that it is “unlocking the natural highways of the brain.” The Stentrode is the first commercial implantable computer interface (microchip) approved by FDA IDE for human clinical trials. According to a paper written in NCBI, these microchips or “brain-computer interfaces acquire brain signals, analyze them and then translate them into thought commands that are relayed to an output device that carries out desired actions.”
Synchron is creating breakthrough technology in a new field of medicine called Neuro EP which stands for Neurointerventional Electrophysiology.
Philip O’Keefe messaged the world using only his thoughts. The microchip in Mr. O’Keefe’s body analyzed his brain signals and helped him carry out what normally would have only been achieved through a muscle command to use the fingers to type a tweet. With this chip, Mr. O’Keefe was able to carry out this same command but without the need of his fingers or hands. Philip O’Keefe thought “HELLO WORLD” AND “HELLO WORLD” IS WHAT GOT TWEETED
The Synchron Stentrode microchip is helping Mr. O’Keefe gain his independence back. He said the system “is astonishing” and that learning to use his thoughts “is like learning to ride a bike - it takes practice. 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.”
Mr. O’Keefe’s goal was to share his experience of regaining his independence and offer others who may be suffering from motor neuron disease inspiration that independence can once again be had through the use of your thoughts and brain computer interface technology.
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