NewsMarch 23, 2022 11:07 AM ET455,798 views

First patient to communicate via brain implant asks to hear Tool album

Amazing: a man with complete paralysis used brain waves to ask for some Tool.

Implant patient requests Tool

Wyss Center / Travis Shinn

In the first study of its kind, scientists were able to communicate with a late-stage ALS patient using a brain implant and neural signals. Among the few requests he painstakingly communicated was a desire to listen to a Tool album (and loudly).

As it progresses, the devastating neurological disease that is amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) can rob sufferers of their ability to communicate. Eventually, they can no longer speak. Later, they can't even use an eye-tracking camera to share their thoughts. If they remain alive long enough, they might be unable to communicate for weeks, months, or even years.

According to Science.org, a 36-year-old man with ALS started working with a research team at Germany's University of Tübingen in 2018 when he could still move his eyes. At the time, he expressed his desire to undergo an invasive implantation procedure in order to continue communicating with his family. After his wife and sister consented to the surgery, researchers inserted electrode arrays into the portion of the brain that controls movement.

Following several months of unsuccessful efforts to effectively communicate with the patient, the team turned to neurofeedback, a process during which Science.org says "a person attempts to modify their brain signals while getting a real-time measure of whether they are succeeding."

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Employing audible tones that the patient could modify, researchers were able to work out a system in which the patient could communicate entire sentences with some level of reliability. Many of the man's attempts failed, but over the course of a year, he was able to communicate — albeit at a frustratingly slow rate of one character per minute — dozens of thoughts, including, "I love my cool son" and "I would like to listen to the album by Tool loud."

(There is no confirmation that Tool was played for the man, loudly or otherwise, but one can only assume that his request was quickly granted.)

While the results of the study are certainly promising, experts exercise caution. "It's so cool," Melanie Fried-Oken, who studies brain-computer interface at Oregon Health & Science University, tells Science.org. "[But] we're nowhere near getting this into an assistive technology state that could be purchased by a family."

There are, of course, myriad ethical concerns as well.

As for the Tool-loving patient, scientists say that his ability to spell has diminished — most likely due to scar tissue surrounding the implant in addition to "cognitive factors" — and he mostly communicates through yes-or-no questions. But researchers promise to maintain the device as long as the patient is able to utilize it.

You can read more about the study here.

76 comments

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anonymous 255 days ago

Does Sonny and Cher still have that stupid show?


anonymous 255 days ago

Very cool. But what would they have done if he'd asked to listen to Cannibal Corpse?


anonymous 255 days ago

I want to listen to the album by Skrewdriver, remixed by Todd Jones, loud.


anonymous 255 days ago

Should have asked for either Mastodon or Turnstile. Those are the only two acceptable requests.


anonymous 255 days ago

Also reported by The New York Times, the man asked for Code Orange to please stop playing music.


anonymous 255 days ago

Imagine that the only way to communicate is by having a team of scientists insert electrode arrays into your brain so that you can spell sentences at one character per minute. Now imagine how much of a struggle it is to issue a request. Finally, imagine struggling through all this to request... Tool.


anonymous 255 days ago

I would have asked for someone to read me the lambgoat comments section


anonymous 255 days ago

I would have asked for someone to read me the lambgoat comments section ^^^^^^^^ U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A! best comment ever


anonymous 255 days ago

His second request was to nibble on the disembodied wiener of the vocalist from Life of Agony.


anonymous 255 days ago

doctor, come closer… doctor.. give me…. Unsilent Death loud.


BigDog 255 days ago

This is unironically cool as f*ck. Science rules.


anonymous 255 days ago

anonymous 50 minutes ago Does Sonny and Cher still have that stupid show? No! She won an Oscar and he's a congressman.


anonymous 255 days ago

I would have asked to play the numa numa song


anonymous 255 days ago

anonymous 47 minutes ago I would have asked for someone to read me the lambgoat comments section Perfect


anonymous 255 days ago

He didn't say Tool. He said Terror.


_d0thack_ 255 days ago

Very cool. Science rules.


anonymous 255 days ago

be a lot cooler if he'd said "van flip"


anonymous 255 days ago

He definitely asked to hear the new TURNSTILE


anonymous 255 days ago

anonymous 17 minutes ago be a lot cooler if he'd said "van flip" Hospital bed flip


anonymous 255 days ago

i would of asked if the deftones safety and whereabouts have yet been confirmed


anonymous 255 days ago

Tool will use this as free press and make merch from it, but refuse to even send him an autograph


anonymous 255 days ago

^^^^ 100% accurate ^^^^ Biggest douchebags in numetal.


anonymous 255 days ago

Good man. f*ck the Tool haters


anonymous 255 days ago

Does Sonny and Cher still have that stupid show? No! She won an Oscar and he's a congressman. >>> Was a congressman. Sonny died from skiing into a tree decades ago my man. Cher was smoking hot in Silkwood, Mask & Moonstruck, too.


anonymous 255 days ago

Sometimes I want to ask Tool fans if they've actually heard the band


anonymous 255 days ago

^ you should do that. sounds fun.


anonymous 255 days ago

anonymous 49 minutes ago Does Sonny and Cher still have that stupid show? No! She won an Oscar and he's a congressman. >>> Was a congressman. Sonny died from skiing into a tree decades ago my man. Cher was smoking hot in Silkwood, Mask & Moonstruck, too." We know Sonny is dead. It's a reference to an old Simpsons episode, where a guy wakes up from a coma and that was the first thing he asked about.


anonymous 255 days ago

He asked to hear a Tool album, listened to it, then promptly asked the doctors to remove the brain implant.


anonymous 255 days ago

Oniongoat


anonymous 255 days ago

But is he vaxxed?!


anonymous 255 days ago

"One" seems like the obvious request.


anonymous 255 days ago

No Kare Ever


anonymous 255 days ago

I'd probably spell: please pull the plug!


anonymous 255 days ago

if Todd Jones remastered All Hail the New Dawn it would be a hit.


anonymous 255 days ago

"I love my cool son" lmao


anonymous 255 days ago

Does he stand with Ukraine though?


anonymous 255 days ago

Be patient.


anonymous 255 days ago

"This is unironically cool as f*ck. Science rules." - a soy boy getting his 5th booster injected into his ass


anonymous 255 days ago

This reads like a Hard Times headline


anonymous 255 days ago

We know Sonny is dead. It's a reference to an old Simpsons episode, where a guy wakes up from a coma and that was the first thing he asked about >>> Oh right. Cuz we're all supposed to know about that episode much less watch The Simpsons and enough to recall that one part of one episode of hundreds sure ok LOL. Grow up you idiot.


anonymous 255 days ago

^^^^^ Get with it, you asshole. Watch the Simpsons. f*cking lame-o...


anonymous 255 days ago

It's getting to that stage people are not getting Simpsons or Friends quotes...even Family Guy quotes. We had a good run guys.


anonymous 255 days ago

Play Sea Shanty 2


anonymous 255 days ago

He should have asked for One by Metallica


anonymous 255 days ago

154,000 views damn


anonymous 254 days ago

"I love my cool son" made me cry. Bittersweet. I hope nothing ever takes me from my boys.


anonymous 254 days ago

dude obviously has irreversible brain damage if he's asking to listen to that. rip


anonymous 254 days ago

Suprised he didn't ask for something recorded / mixed / mastered by Will Putney.


anonymous 254 days ago

"I love my cool son" made me cry. Bittersweet. I hope nothing ever takes me from my boys. You're going to die someday. They are too, for that matter.


anonymous 254 days ago

Is he vaccinated


anonymous 254 days ago

LOL, you "metal heads" are top notch people with your references to vaccines and what you consider to be YOUR favorite "metal" band. Haha, my elementary school students are more articulate and understanding. Thanks for listening, you can go back to screaming at yourself in the mirror.


carveyournamein 254 days ago

Guy above me is Maynard James Keenan.


anonymous 254 days ago

Ha, I wish. I'd love to sell you sh*tty overpriced wine! I also wish you could write something meaningful and not a knee-jerk reaction to someone giving you an alternative viewpoint. Are you still on the waitlist for Truth Social?


carveyournamein 254 days ago

Go back to Reddit.


anonymous 254 days ago

Another knee-jerk response. I'll sign up for reddit if you sign up for your GED 😀


anonymous 254 days ago

"My parents abused me and now my entire existence is a series of internet posts where I'm as mean as possible for seemingly no benefit to anyone."


anonymous 254 days ago

Well said


anonymous 254 days ago

Screw this guy for wanting something I don't agree with!


anonymous 254 days ago

I read this as a Hard Times new headline.


anonymous 254 days ago

What if he asked to hear a band called "Turn Off My Ventilator"....?


anonymous 254 days ago

Pull the plug


anonymous 254 days ago

DO THEY STAND WITH UKRAINE??!!!


anonymous 254 days ago

^ haters be damned - go away and listen to some Hatebreed


anonymous 254 days ago

Stephen Hawkin was wheelbound with this same technology now we just need that same brainwave communication with robotic legs let them walk and talk and not wheel bound


anonymous 254 days ago

at least he hadn't asked to hear that Jack n Jill, adult nursery rhyme, drivel country music...there's no reason to save a man in that condition if that's the best he can do...


anonymous 254 days ago

Lambgoat readers have very shitty taste in music.


anonymous 254 days ago

**Guy above me is Maynard** That made me lol for real. Even if I do love a good Tool album. Best comment yet


anonymous 254 days ago

If I was completely paralyzed, I'd ask to die. He has no future.


anonymous 254 days ago

They should play "One"


lake_flaccid 254 days ago

anonymous 18 hours ago "This is unironically cool as f*ck. Science rules." - a soy boy getting his 5th booster injected into his ass Imagine being so brainwashed that your brain just twists this article about science and metal into an argumentative platform for conservative politics.


lake_flaccid 254 days ago

Like damn dude, believe what you want, but if the entirety of science is an inherently political concept for you then you are probably better off in the ground


anonymous 254 days ago

Analysts soon confirmed he meant to say, "I love my Tool, son."


anonymous 254 days ago

Carveyournamein, did you sign up for your GED classes yet? I'm waiting to hit submit to a reddit account but all the sudden you've gone silent. Hide f-ing surprise, metalhead


anonymous 254 days ago

Apologies, "huge f-ing surprise"


anonymous 252 days ago

"Biggest douchebags in numetal" while un-ironically posting here. Lol


anonymous 249 days ago

This "article" is literally propaganda trying to normalize and glorify getting yourself chipped. In the future the NWO will literally own your brain but you trust the science too much to accept it.



Tags: Tool


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