Contents page 1 — And if he can’t read minds? Page 2 — doubts were dismissed On a page

The promise was huge. Just as the ethical consequences. The renowned brain researcher Niels Birbaumer claimed a few years ago, to have a machine built, which brought the Unbelievable: people who are paralyzed due to a nerve disease, a respiratory machine to hang and not even the eyes can move, to leave again with their outside world communicate. All what it need to be Sensors on the scalp, measuring by means of infrared measurement, the blood flow to the brain, and a Computer analysis of their signals, i.e. a Yes and a no from you do.

but Now Birbaumers results into question. A young computer scientist has tried, the results of a Birbaumers publications to expect – without success. His conclusion: The machine is not functioning, possibly. The magazine of the süddeutsche Zeitung, reported that the University of Tübingen started an investigation. What is going to happen?

With the Brain waves of words

Niels Birbaumer was born in 1945 and 29 appointed a Professor. He is considered to be one of the most famous psychologists and brain researchers in Germany, his academic career is impressive. Around the turn of the Millennium, he began to deal intensively with the brain-Computer-interfaces, machines, and the brain waves or other signals can be derived and these in information convert (Psychological Bulletin:Kübler et al., 2001). These devices are well advanced: So people can spell alone with your brain’s flow of words or painting pictures (Brain Sciences:Rezeika et al., 2018). Again and again researchers discovered researchers have, however, a limit: people in the so-called Completely Locked-In State (CLIS), the state of total paralysis.

In the case of people suffering from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (als), a disease in which the motor nerve cells die and leads to complete paralysis, functioning of brain-machine interfaces for a long time. But as soon as the muscles of the eye and expose the people to enter in the CLIS, it stops. Why, there are only speculations (Clinical Neurophysiology: Kübler & Birbaumer, 2008). The fact is that these people hang on a breathing machine, the breathing muscles is paralyzed – not being able to communicate.

the patient should be “Yes” or “no” think

Birbaumer not want to accept that. He searched for patients in whom just the eye muscles were exposed, and developed his technique further. In 2014 his group published a case study that documented the success of the brain-Computer-interface based on a single patient. No one had asked the woman questions and asked you to think Yes or no, while the infrared sensors measured the blood flow in different Parts of the brain. Because no one had asked, among other questions, to which you knew the answer (“were you born in Hamburg?”), could you check whether the device worked. The result: Yes, it worked! (Neurology: Gallegos-Ayala et al., 2014)

Three years later, then the study should be the final proof – and which triggered the current controversy surrounding Birbaumer followed. This time, four patients were tested. Again showed: With Birbaumers apparatus of the Paralytic were able to Yes-no questions responses (Plos Biology: Chaudhary et al., 2017). The media response was enormous, the dpa news Agency wrote: “the head hood can read the thoughts of completely paralyzed people,” the British Guardian called the results “groundbreaking”, and in the TIME there was talk of a “revolutionary method”. Birbaumer were devoted to television broadcasts. Desperate families who had completely paralyzed relatives, called him and wrote to him.


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