The world depicted by Pixar’s hit movie Wall-E in which humans have become morbidly obese due to the level of sophistication achieved by technology may soon be reality.

On April 15, 2009, University of Wisconsin doctoral student Adam Wilson sent out the tweet, “GO BADGERS.” Soon afterwards, his second tweet followed with the sentence, “SPELLING WITH MY BRAIN.”

The two tweets were done simply by thinking. Alongside his advisor Justin Williams, Wilson reveals that by focusing on individual letters on a computer screen in succession while wearing a goofy-looking cap attached with electrodes that monitored his brain’s activity, he could compose a string of text. Unfortunately, as you can see for yourself in the embedded video below, the method is painfully slow.

Nevertheless, this achievement paves a bright future for people suffering from “locked-in” syndrome, which incapacitates patients with the inability to communicate or move except for the eyes though they are still fully aware and alert.

This story was featured in Time’s annual 50 Best Inventions of the Year.

Photo by David Nevala

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