Scientists Connected The Human Brain To A Computer Wirelessly For The First Time Ever!
Brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) are an assistive technology that allows individuals with paralysis to type on computer screens or control robotic prostheses by simply thinking about moving their bodies. Until this year, cables were required for these systems to work, restricting the time and place BCIs could be used because they tethered participants to amplifiers and decoding computers and required expert oversight. However, with the BrainGate research team’s innovation, a small transmitter about 5 cm (2 inches) in its largest dimension and weighing a little over 42 g (1.5 ounces) that replaced the cables, the need for a decoding device doesn’t restrict the individuals anymore. The system is capable of transmitting brain signals at single-neuron resolution and in full broadband fidelity, sitting on top of the user’s head and connecting to an electrode array within the brain’s motor cortex using the same port used by wired systems. According to a study published in IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering, this small transmitter is functionally equivalent to the cabled systems that have been used over the years. In this study, the two clinical trial participants with paralysis using this wireless system were able to achieve similar point-and-click accuracy and typing speeds as when using wired systems. This is an extremely important step toward a fully implantable intracortical brain-computer interface system.