The task of typing is a very complex process and though it may seem like a simple task for many, it is an especially difficult task for paralyzed and other disabled people because of the number of possible inputs. This is why researchers are trying to develop new ways of typing by taking away the use of our hands. That’s right, but how?– by using brain implants.
A group of researchers from Stanford was able to beat the record for typing by using only a brain implant at a speed that is four times faster than the previous world record.
The BrainGate Research consortium at Stanford has been developing various methods of connecting keyboard interfaces directly to the brain for some years now. Their development involves electrodes into the motor complex of the brain, which is the area of the brain that is responsible for controlling motion. The brain will then pick up signals from the brain. These signals will then be interpreted as cursor movements on the virtual keyboard.
Source: Spectrum IEEE
The research consortium has improved their technology over some iterations, and their latest research paper shows how much progress they have been able to achieve. The team tested their technology on two subjects and one of them has broke the world record for this style of typing. The man was able to type at a pace of eight words per minute, which is four times faster than the previous world record.
However, there are still some challenges that are significant. The researchers from BrainGate want to create a system that can be fully implanted, wireless and will not require frequent recalibration to keep the decoder working properly. The team is currently working on these challenges for the improvement of their technology.
Source: YouTube, Stanford
Once this technology is improved, it can be used to control other platforms besides a typing system. This technology can be used on people with paralysis so they could use their brain signals to control wheelchairs, robotic arms, and even electrodes that stimulate dormant muscles.
Imagine all the possible applications for this technology. Once improved, it will definitely be able to help people with disabilities or paralysis have an easier time communicating.