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Brain-Computer Interface Smashes Previous Record for Typing Speed


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Two tiny arrays of implanted electrodes relayed information from the brain area that controls the hands and arms to an algorithm, which translated it into letters that appeared on a screen.

Successful BCI typing-by-brain approaches typically involve a person imagining moving a cursor around a digital keyboard to select letters.

Credit: Erika Woodrum/HHMI/Nature

The ancient art of handwriting has just pushed the field of brain-computer interface (BCI) to the next level. Researchers have devised a system that allows a person to communicate directly with a computer from his brain by imagining creating handwritten messages. The approach enables communication at a rate more than twice as fast as previous typing-by-brain experiments. 

Researchers at Stanford University performed the study on a 65-year-old man with a spinal cord injury who had had an electrode array implanted in his brain. The scientists described the experiment recently in the journal Nature

"The big news from this paper is the very high speed," says Cynthia Chestek, a biomedical engineer at the University of Michigan, who was not involved in the study. "It's at least half way to able-bodied typing speed, and that's why this paper is in Nature."

From IEEE Spectrum
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