With the rise in Artificial Intelligence, scientists and researchers have been able to come up with solutions to problems that have troubled us for so long. Similar has been the case when a man, who has been paralyzed from the neck down, was able to communicate his thoughts with the help of a brain implant system.
The gadget, which is a brain-computer interface (BCI), exploits artificial intelligence to understand the neural activity generated during handwriting. It is part of a long-running research partnership called BrainGate.
The man under study was 65 years at the time of the study. Throughout the research, the man wasn’t actually writing because his hand, along with all of his limbs had been paralyzed for several years due to a spinal cord injury he sustained back in 2007.
The man, however, concentrated as if he were writing during the experiment, envisioning himself writing the letters using a pretend pen and paper.
His imagined pen trajectories, with the help of electrodes that were implanted in his motor cortex recorded signals of his neural activity. These signals were then fed into algorithms that interpreted them and displayed the results on an external computer.
The results of the brain implant demonstrated how promising a virtual handwriting system could be for individuals who have lost almost all their physical mobility.
The individual under observation was able to write at an impressive rate of 90 characters per minute and a 94 percent accuracy rate. According to the researchers, it’s also virtually on pace with the typing speed of smartphone users in the man’s age group, which is around 115 characters or 23 words per minute.
Despite its revolutionary potential, this first-of-its-kind technology is still a work in progress. According to the researchers, the current technology, is only a proof of concept at this stage, having only been shown to work with one individual, and therefore is far from being declared a clinically viable device.
There might be still a long way to go, but we might be on the verge of an incredible new technology that allows us to communicate with the ability to communicate.