Implanted device enables slow, but more reliable, brain-driven typing

UMC Utrecht professor Nick Ramsey has developed an implantable brain computer interface that allowed a locked-in ALS patient to (very slowly) translate her thoughts into text.

Until recently, the patient used eye tracking to spell words on a computer screen, as many ALS patients do.  However, as 1/3 of patients lose the ability to control their eyes, scientists have been looking for thought controlled alternatives, both invasive, implant-driven, and non invasive, EEG-driven.

The success of this implant, while it only allows the user to “type” 2 letters per minute, is that it does not require the constant calibration of earlier devices, which required them to be used in the lab, or were unreliable.

Ramsey simplified the process by focusing on detecting only brain signals that fire when the brain counts backwards and commands the body to click a mouse.

Click to view UMC Utrecht video

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