Paralysed man uses device to listen to Tool album

Members of Tool
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A paralysed music fan has asked to listen to a Tool album through his brain implant.

The patient, who was diagnoised with ALS, has no other form of communication, but a few years ago they had the ability to hold conversations through eye movement.

In 2018 they started working with a research team from the University of Tübingen to develop a method of talking to others once their health had deteriorated into a “locked-in” state.

At the time he still had the ability to move his eyes, so was able to tell the scientists he wanted “an invasive implant to try to maintain communication with his family, including his young son.”

According to the implant gave the patient ability to select letters to help him put sentences together.

To start with the system was unable to respond to yes-or-no questions, but after perseverance which saw the patient modifying his brain signals through neurofeedback researchers starting to notice the process was beginning to work.

After a year of determination and hard work the patient was able to form full sentences, one letter a minute.

One of the first sentences the patient said was the poignant words “I love my cool son” but he was also able to share his taste in music by saying: “I would like to listen to the album by Tool loud.”

His abilities have since become limited, he now mostly answers yes-or-no questions as the scar tissue around the implant has started to obstruct the neural signals, but Wyss Center researches say he will be able to carry on using the device as long as he wishes.

Jonas Zimmermann, a neuroscientist involved in the study said: “There’s this huge responsibility. We’re quite aware of that.”

Tool are touring the UK in May, for dates and more information visit the band’s website.