The system is capable of transmitting brain signals « with great accuracy and full clarity to the computer ».
A research group has presented a successful experiment to connect the human mind to computer-based wireless commands, a major breakthrough for patients with paralysis, according to a report in The Independent.
According to the report, researchers at Brown University in the United States say the system is capable of transmitting brain signals « with great accuracy and full clarity to the computer. »
One clinical trial of BrainGate included a small transmitter that connected to a person’s motor cortex.
The paralyzed trial participants used the system to control a tablet computer, according to reports in the scientific journal IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering.
Participants were able to achieve print speeds, marking accuracy and computer clicking using wireless commands from the brain, as with wired systems.
« We’ve proven that this wireless system is functionally equivalent to wired systems that were the gold standard, » says John Semeral, associate professor of engineering at Brown University.
« Signals are properly recorded and transmitted with similar accuracy, which means we can use the same decryption algorithms that we used with wired equipment, » he said.
« The only difference is that people no longer need physical restrictions on our equipment, which opens up new possibilities for how to use the system, » he said.
This innovation represents the latest advance in the fast-growing field of neural interface technologies, which has attracted the ideas of tech pioneers such as Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg.
Musk recently revealed that his startup Neuralink has already tested a wireless chip on a monkey’s brain that allows him to play video games.
Participants in the recent trial, aged between 35 and 63, were paralyzed by spinal cord injuries. They were able to use the wireless system continuously for up to 24 hours at home, not in the laboratory.
Relative ease of use means that trained caregivers were able to create wireless communications, indicating that the study could continue while the epidemic prevented researchers from visiting participants’ homes.
« Using this system, we can look at brain activity at home, over long periods in a way that was almost impossible before, » says Lee Hochberg, professor of engineering at Brown University and head of the Bryngate clinical trial.
« This will help us design decryption algorithms that provide smooth, intuitive and reliable communication and mobility restoration for people with paralysis, » he said.
Source: The Independent