People with paralysis may one day use a brain implant to help them communicate their thoughts and perform everyday tasks. As Engadget reports, a brain-computer interface (BCI) called BrainGate2 Neural Interface System has allowed three paralyzed people to send text messages, buy groceries online, listen to music and even play a virtual piano on a tablet.
The interface was developed by the BrainGate consortium, a team of neuroscientists, engineers and computer scientists that creates new technologies for people who are paralyzed, have lost a limb or have a neurological disease that limits their motor function or ability to speak. Their findings were published in the journal. More one.
The three participants in the clinical study are paralyzed and lack the use of their arms. An implant the size of an aspirin pill for babies was placed that contained a series of microelectrodes in its motor cortex, the part of the brain responsible for movement. A small sensor was used to record any neural signal associated with the movement of a limb, which was then decoded and sent to a virtual mouse paired with a tablet via Bluetooth.
In other words, the participants only had to think about moving a cursor on a screen, and the interface did the heavy lifting for them. They were able to write 30 characters per minute and make 22 point-and-click selections per minute.
Similar technologies have been developed in the past, but this allows people to use a ready-to-use tablet without having to make modifications, according to Engadget.
Although brain-implant technology is still in the experimental stage and is not yet ready for commercial development, several of the study's authors said the results are promising and could greatly improve the quality of life of people with paralysis.
Bioengineering and lead author of Stanford University, Paul Nuyujukian, said in a statement: "At the beginning of the trial, one of the participants told us that one of the things he really wanted to do was to play music again. see her play in a digital The keyboard was fantastic. "