Concentrating deeply, Cathy Hutchinson stared at the tumbler of coffee on the table in front of her wheelchair. A cup-shaped dome on her head powered her small neural implant, capturing signals from her motor cortex as she thought about holding the mug. Slowly, the robot arm began to move.
Paralysis patients could play music with their minds, using a new brain-control interface that senses brain impulses and translates them into musical notes.
Users must teach themselves how to associate brain signals with specific tasks, causing neuronal activity that the brain scanners can pick up. Then they can make music.
Israeli researchers have sniffed out what could become a way to give paraplegics and those suffering from "locked-in" syndrome a means to communicate with the outside world and even drive a wheelchair using their noses. Using a device that converts nasal pressure into electrical signals, the team has successfully enabled locked-in patients to write messages independent of stimulus and allowed paraplegics to effectively navigate an electric wheelchair.
The world's first commercial effort at a patient-ready brain computer interface is on display over at CeBIT 2010, but don't go throwing out your keyboard and mouse just yet. Intended for patients suffering from locked-in syndrome and other communication-impairing conditions, the Intendix from Guger Technologies allows users to input text using only their brains.