Art-Provoking Thought


Heide Pf√ºtzner, a former teacher from Leipzig, Germany, suffers from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known globally as motor neurone disease, and in the U.S. as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Physically, the mother of four has been paralyzed and unable to paint.

But with a new brain-controlled computer, she has created a series of paintings through the power of thought. She’s now prepared to exhibit her work in Easdale, near Oban in Scotland.

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One of Pfutzner’s artworks

She told the UK’s Mail Online:

Brain-computer interface is a breakthrough technology that enables me with my thoughts to create art. Concentration and thoughts create expressive images. For the first time, this project gives me the opportunity to show the world that the disease has not been the end of my life.

Dr. Christoph Guger has led the team developing the system at technology company gTech near Linz, Austria. In an interview with London’s The Telegraph, he said:

At the moment the interface works like simple paint software where you have to select options using your thoughts…If you implant electrodes into the cortex (the outer layer of the brain) you can get a much higher resolution – it allows you to decode single finger movements and voice with a very high speed. It can then start to recognise your intentions.

The current technology involves a cap with embedded electrodes that detect small electrical changes in the user’s brain.

Read more of the Mail Online article, which includes photos of Pfützner, the technology and the artwork, here. Read The Telegraph article, which also includes visuals, here.