Using techniques usually reserved for identifying epilepsy in patients, a team of scientists at Washington University were able to successfully have subjects move computer cursors using nothing but their thoughts.
To make it work, the scientists first utilized a temporary surgical implant attached to regions of the brain that pertain to speech, then had the patients think about certain words as if they were saying them. The test results showed that even without prior training, patients were able to control the computer with a stunning 90% accuracy.
Though other studies had demonstrated that patients were to interact with computers using other parts of the brain that inform muscle movements, this is the first time that “speech” — or the thought of it — was used successfully.
While this won’t have any profound implications for me and the unscrolling scrolly-ball of my Mighty Mouse, this is a wonderful discovery for patients who may have lost the ability to speak through accidents or trauma, as they may one day be able to form audible syntax — using their minds — through machines that simulate human speech.
(via Science Daily)
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