3 July 2012
One neuroscientist is looking to tap directly into the brain of the famed physicist Stephen Hawking. Philip Low hopes a device he developed, called the iBrain, will provide Hawking with the ability to communicate in case the day comes when Hawking can’t work his current communication system. The same device, a light helmet that doesn’t require electrodes, might also diagnose post-traumatic stress disorder and other psychiatric and neurological conditions, Time reported.
The iBrain gathers electrical signals the brain produces. Low developed an algorithm to interpret the electrical waves the iBrain picks up, accounting for the distortion that occurs as the waves travel through the folds of the brain and the skull, the New York Times reported. Hawking and Low will present the latest studies on the iBrain at the University of Cambridge this Saturday (July 7), but a few details about iBrain test results have emerged already.
The U.S. Navy sent Low iBrain data on a soldier and Low’s analysis said the soldier had traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder, and was taking an anti-depressant, but did not have depression or schizophrenia. The Navy confirmed that all of Low’s findings were true, Time reported. The soldier was taking antidepressants for anxiety. If the device is able to quickly and easily diagnose post-traumatic stress disorder, it could catch more of the cases that currently go undiagnosed, Time said.