Founded in 1960, SPR is an international scientific society with worldwide membership. The purpose of the Society is to foster research on the interrelationships between the physiological and psychological aspects of behavior. To promote this purpose, the Society publishes scientific literature, including the journal Psychophysiology, and holds annual meetings for presentation and discussion of original theory and research, instrumentation and methodology, and new directions and standards in the field.
THE THOUGHT-TRANSLATION-DEVICE (TTD): STATUS AND FUTURE
Niels, Birbaumer, University of Tbingen, Germany
A "Thought Translation Device" is making it possible for people completely paralyzed by Lou Gehrig's disease to communicate with the outside world. The disease, also called amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, slowly robs patients of all motor control while leaving their minds intact. Patients often end up "locked in" to their bodies, a nightmarish state in which they are unable to control so much as an eye blink and, until recently, making it nearly impossible to communicate their thoughts or needs. The Thought-Translation-Device (TDD) uses a web-accessible computer system allowing patients to communicate directly with a computer by controlling their brain-wave patterns. Over the last eight years, 11 patients with ALS have learned to communicate directly to the computer by learning to control their brain-waves. Researchers have found that patients who learned to do this could then apply this skill to operate a computer program that allows patients to communicate. Patients who learned to communicate this way before becoming "locked-in," were still able to communicate once they had completely lost motor control.