The BrainGate/Brown/Stanford/MGH/VA consortium has published a study describing three teraplegic patients who were able to control an off the shelf tablet with their thoughts. They surfed the web, checked the weather and shopped online. A musician played part of Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” on a digital piano interface.
The BrainGate BCI included a small implant that detected and recorded signals associated with intended movements produced in the motor cortex. Neural signals were routed to a Bluetooth interface that worked like a wireless mouse, which was paired to an unmodified tablet.
Participants made up to 22 point-and-click selections per minute while using several apps. They typed up to 30 characters per minute with standard email and text interfaces.
The researchers believe that the technology can open new lines of communication between brain disorder patients and their caregivers.
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