Researchers at Stanford University within the BrainGate research consortium have developed a brain implant with which a paralyzed patient set a record for typing on a computer, four times higher than the previous world achievement.
The technology involves inserting electrodes into the motor region of the brain, which controls movement and picks up brain signals. The signals are then interpreted as the movement of the cursor on the virtual keyboard.
Research in the field of direct computer control by the power of thought has been carried out by the BrainGate consortium for several years. The technology has gone through several iterations, each time increasing the accuracy and speed of determining computer control.
Leading participants in the project, bioengineer neurosurgeon Krishna Shenoy and Dr. Jamie Henderson, hope that the set typing record can be broken by adding the autocomplete feature used on many smartphones. Work is also underway to further optimize the algorithm and introduce a wireless mode.
If the development of BrainGate achieves higher accuracy, then the technology will find application in the control of wheelchairs or even exoskeletons, scientists say.