After giving the world hits such as brain implants that let you control a mouse cursor and robotic arms, the BrainGate team is back with another fascinating and, I feel a much-needed neural interface.
The newest BrainGate project is aimed at paralyzed people who cannot speak or write. This Brain-Computer Interface (BCI) aims to improve communication with the user as it beautifully allows them to text and type only through the power of thinking.
Study Author Dr. Frank Willett at Stanford’s Neural Prosthetics Translational Laboratory has said: “This … could help restore communication in people who are severely paralyzed, or locked-in”.
With speeds ranging up to 90 characters per minute and an accuracy of up to 99%, with autocorrect enabled, the new transplant is the fastest that scientists have ever seen. Not only has it proven at least twice as fast as the previous record, but the new implant also does not need a lot of user-focused training hence making its wide adoption an easier task.
While the previous studies focused on using a cursor to select keys on the keyboard, the new method achieves its speed by removing the keyboard entirely and using Recurring Neural Networks and AI.
With AI and tech progressing rapidly, the mind-to-machine connection might be an ordinary reality very soon.
The potential is vast: from helping people who have suffered from a stroke or have other disabilities, to increasing the speed of innovation and progress with ideas seamlessly transitioning from mind to matter.
In my previous post, I wrote about another inspiring research to help people with mobility impairment. I feel topics like these are really bringing to light the ways technology can rehumanise the future.