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Surprising Science

New Mobile Device Reads Your Thoughts

When attached to a headband, a new mobile device the size of a matchbox can pick up the electricity signals of your thoughts. Called iBrain, it is currently being tested on Stephen Hawking. 

What’s the Latest Development?

A new mobile device called the iBrain can read the electrical signals produced by your brain when it thinks. The device’s makers want to decode those signals into human language and use the device to monitor patients with neurological disorders, which produce different thought patterns, as well as other diseases like sleep apnea, depression and autism. Famed physicist Stephen Hawking is currently testing the iBrain to see if it might help him communicate better than his current method, which uses infrared glasses to pick up his movement in his cheek. 

What’s the Big Idea?

Using mobile devices to monitor patients with conditions that affect the brain would help streamline their medical treatment and reduce medical costs by taking the place of some visits to the doctor. Medical companies are using devices like the iBrain to test the effectiveness of experimental neurological drugs in clinical trials. Other companies already sell the technology directly to consumers, which use electrodes to monitor and graph sleep patterns over time. For Hawking, much work remains before his brain waves are interfaced with devices that allow him to communicate. 

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