The news: Eight years ago, a patient lost her ability to speak due to ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, which causes progressive paralysis. Now, after volunteering to receive a brain implant, the woman has been able to quickly communicate sentences at a rate approaching normal speech.
Why it matters: Even in the age of keyboards, thumb typing, emojis, and Internet abbreviations, speech remains the fastest form of person-to-person communication. Stanford University scientists say their volunteer broke previous records by using the brain-reading implant to communicate at a speed of 62 words per minute, three times the previous best.
What follows: Although the study has not been formally peer-reviewed, experts have hailed the results as a significant breakthrough. The findings could pave the way for experimental brain-reading technology to move out of the lab and into a useful product soon. Read the whole story.
Resolution to live the Year of the Rabbit to the fullest
By Zeyi Yang, reporter from China
This past Sunday was the Lunar New Year, the most important holiday for Chinese and other Asian cultures. It’s supposed to be an opportunity to reboot and take advantage of new opportunities.
In that spirit, I recently revisited some of my favorite China-focused MIT Technology Review stories from the past year and went back to the people I interviewed. I asked them if they had solved any troubling challenges and what they are looking forward to in the Year of the Rabbit.