A team of scientists in the United States has proven the efficacy of a groundbreaking device that helps paralyzed people communicate more easily after a quadriplegic man was able to “mind write” with astonishing accuracy.
“This study is a remarkable advance for intracortical brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) because it achieves a huge leap in typing speed and accuracy,” says Amy Orsborn, an expert in neural engineering at the University of Washington in Seattle. “How we extend this work to assure the algorithms work well every day and for everyone is an exciting new challenge.”
As part of the BrainGate2 clinical trial, a sexagenarian man paralyzed from the neck down had two small computer chips implanted on the left side of his brain where neurons send signals to control his right hand. The man was invited to imagine holding a pen over a pad and try to write individual letters without moving his hand or his arm. The brain activity of the region responsible for controlling his movements was recorded during the exercise. He was able to write 18 words a minute with 94% accuracy on individual letters.