Yes, this post can certainly be considered “certifiably Jules Verne”. But, perhaps the technology exists to develop this idea. Here goes:
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis patients are not able to move skeletal muscles in the later stages of this disease. Thus, communication with the caregivers may be a problem.
The Morse Code alphabet is a truly binary language. It consists of combinations of dots and dashes- short and long sounds, lights or, in this case- higher and lower brain wave frequency patterns. I know that there are differing brain wave patterns. These brain wave patterns consist of differing frequencies. I know that it is possible to manipulate one’s own brain wave patterns. Perhaps research can find out if one or more of these patterns can communicate in the binary morse code language.
The ALS patient could learn the morse code language during the early months of the illness and would be conversant in the language when it is needed to communicate with the caregiver. I can talk to other morse users at speeds up to thirty words per minute. I copy the morse in my head, with minimal use of written notes. I find the morse code language fascinating and loads of fun.
Would it be a possibility to forsee a communication method in which EEG sensors distinguish higher and lower frequency patterns of brain waves, consciously produced by an ALS patient conversant in morse code? The software of the computer attached to this EEG device would then translate the CW (morse code) that is sent by the patient. Perhaps this EEG could be combined with computer software-developed only for this purpose and would be a new medical device, invented for this purpose.
Perhaps this communication method would also be valuable as a communication tool for Muscular Sclerosis, Muscular Dystrophy and Cerebral Palsy patients?
As an alternative or in cases where total muscle paralysis is not present, Toyota motor company’s “Touch Tracer” technology could possibly be applied here to provide an alphabetized and symbolized pressure touch flat screen. The caregiver would slowly move each letter on this tablet under the patient’s finger. The patient would slightly press each letter and/or symbol he/she wants to use and this letter-symbol would be displayed on the room’s television monitor for everyone to see.
Once again, I do not know if this post is a possibility and it seems far fetched to me, but it is worthy of thought and perhaps pursued further with research? I have read about the research being done with “Brain-Computer Interfaces.”