A breakthrough in brain implants and thoughts on Chinese technology
The news: Eight years ago, a patient lost her speech due to ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, which causes progressive paralysis. Now, after volunteering to receive a brain implant, the woman was able to quickly communicate sentences at a rate close to normal speech.
Why is it important: Even in the age of keyboards, thumb typing, emojis and Internet abbreviations, speech remains the fastest form of human-to-human communication. Stanford University scientists say their volunteer broke previous records by using the brain-reading implant to communicate at a rate of 62 words per minute, three times the previous best.
And after: Although the study has not been officially reviewed, experts hailed the results as a significant step forward. The findings could pave the way for experimental brain-reading technology that would leave the lab and soon become a useful product. Read the full story.
Decide to fully live the Year of the Rabbit
By Zeyi Yang, China reporter
Last Sunday was the Lunar New Year, the most important holiday for the Chinese and many other Asian cultures. It’s meant to be an opportunity for us to reset and take on new opportunities.
With that in mind, I recently revisited some of my favorite China-focused MIT Technology Review stories from last year and got back to the people I interviewed. I asked them if they had resolved any troubling issues and what they hoped for in the Year of the Rabbit.