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The cessation of continuity of neural signal transmission from the brain to other parts of the body affects those who suffer a stroke as well as traumatic injury to the central nervous system.

Frank Guenther, from Boston University (Massachusetts, USA), and colleagues implanted an electrode into the brain of a person with locked-in syndrome, someone who is completely paralyzed but with total cognitive and sensory awareness.

The electrode amplifies, converts, and sorts speech signaling in the brain, and then decodes the signals into commands relayed to an external speech synthesizer.

The "thought-to-speech" process takes about 50 milliseconds, roughly equivalent to the time it takes a neurologically intact person to speak their thoughts.

The study marks the first successful demonstration of a permanently installed, wireless implant for real-time control of an external device.

Jan 2010

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