Ten on Tech: Spotlight on Daniel Diaz

Interview with professional engineer and IEEE senior member

4 min read
IEEE Senior Member Daniel Diaz
Photo: Danny Griffin

THE INSTITUTEIEEE Senior Member Daniel Diaz is a registered Professional Engineer in the state of Georgia and currently works for renewable energy provider, Southern Company in Atlanta as a team leader of the Protection and Control Applications group (System Protection). As an IEEE volunteer he serves as the Regions 1 -7 Representative to IEEE’s Power and Energy Society’s Governing Board. He also served as the vice chair for the Atlanta Section and as the IEEE Young Professionals coordinator for Region 3.

Diaz has also worked for power management companies including Georgia Power Co. as a protection and control field services engineer and Eaton Corp. as a commissioning engineer. He also worked as a systems engineer for the U.S. Department of Defense.

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This Implant Turns Brain Waves Into Words

A brain-computer interface deciphers commands intended for the vocal tract

10 min read
A man using an interface, looking at a screen with words on it.

A paralyzed man who hasn’t spoken in 15 years uses a brain-computer interface that decodes his intended speech, one word at a time.

University of California, San Francisco
Blue

A computer screen shows the question “Would you like some water?” Underneath, three dots blink, followed by words that appear, one at a time: “No I am not thirsty.”

It was brain activity that made those words materialize—the brain of a man who has not spoken for more than 15 years, ever since a stroke damaged the connection between his brain and the rest of his body, leaving him mostly paralyzed. He has used many other technologies to communicate; most recently, he used a pointer attached to his baseball cap to tap out words on a touchscreen, a method that was effective but slow. He volunteered for my research group’s clinical trial at the University of California, San Francisco in hopes of pioneering a faster method. So far, he has used the brain-to-text system only during research sessions, but he wants to help develop the technology into something that people like himself could use in their everyday lives.

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