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SCHOLAR SPOTLIGHT: The man who reads minds

02:16pm August 11 2021

Associate Professor Nicholas Opie takes us inside his world-first brain recording device. (Josh Wall)

In a new series, Westpac Wire is shining a light on Westpac Scholars – the everyday Australians who have big plans for a better future. 

More than five years into the program, overseen by Westpac Scholars Trust, there are more than 500 scholars who have received more than $31 million, including university co-funding. 

One is Associate Professor Nicholas Opie, at the University of Melbourne who has designed the Stentrode, the world’s first brain recording device that can be implanted without invasive surgery. 

In the first episode of our new series, Scholar Spotlight, we take you inside Nick’s work and its potential to treat a wide range of neurological conditions.

“The idea was that we would give them mind control or the ability to control a computer using their thoughts,” he says. 

“Essentially performing different types of mouse clicks, allowed them to communicate through emails and text messaging.

“Watching the patients use it, certainly was magical.” 

Working with 14 university partners, Westpac Scholars Trust offers 100 scholarships a year over five programs across three focus areas – Australia’s relationship with Asia, technology and innovation, and enabling positive social change.  

Applications for 2022 scholarships are now open. 

Josh Wall is the Head of Video at Westpac Wire. Prior to joining the team, he spent 10 years as a video journalist and documentary filmmaker, most recently as Head of Video for the Guardian Australia. He also worked across numerous News Corp mastheads in Sydney as a presenter, producer, writer and video journalist. Josh is originally from Perth, Western Australia where he began his career by co-creating a video magazine that focused on music and the arts.

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