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Thought-controlled computer created

Scientists have developed a computer that can be controlled by the power of thought.

Scientists have developed a computer that can be controlled by the power of thought.

The breakthrough could have massive implications for patients who have lost the power of speech or are unable to move because of brain injury or stroke.

During tests, volunteers were able to move a cursor on the computer screen by merely 'saying the words' in their heads.

Disabled people could control wheelchairs or robotic arms using the new technology. It could even bring about tremendous changes in the computer games industry.

Dr Eric Leuthardt, of Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis, Missouri, said: "This is one of the earliest examples, to a very, very small extent, of what is called "reading minds" - detecting what people are saying to themselves in their internal dialogue.'

Dr Leuthardt used a technique called electrocortiography to connect the brains of patients suffering from epilepsy directly to a computer.

Electrical activity was recorded by inserting electrodes through the skull until they reached the brain.

The technique has been used earlier to determine the areas of the brain that cause epilepsy and has also led to effective treatments of the condition.

Copyright Press Association 2011

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