A new Neuralink-like brain-controlled computer has started its first human trial. It is currently the first innovation to connect a PC to a human brain wirelessly.
The great thing about this new study is that it successfully allowed paralyzed individuals to type just like an average person that can use their hands.
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A prototype mobile unit that could potentially be used to diagnosis traumatic brain injuries in the field, created by Brainscope, is seen at a press conference announcing Brainscope as one of the 16 winners of the first round of the $20M Head Health Challenge, a research grant created by the National Football League (NFL) and General Electric to better study and treat traumatic brain injuries, on January 23, 2014 in New York City. Brainscope and the 15 other winners will all receive $300,000.
The study even showed that the paralyzed participants were able to type at the normal speed of normal people. According to Independent UK‘s latest report, the clinical trial was conducted and developed by the BrainGate technology.
The tech firm’s innovation offered the first wireless commands to a computer, which was able to make a breakthrough for those suffering from paralysis. BrainGate explained that it used a system that can transmit brain signals at single-neuron resolution.
On the other hand, the researchers at Brown University in the United States explained that the computer did this in full broadband fidelity.
The new study was published by the IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering journal.
How the new brain-controlled computer works
Interesting Engineering explained that the new technology is called brain-computer interface or BCI. The involved researchers claimed that the new system is capable of helping paralyzed people to type on a computer screen, as well as control robotic prosthetic limbs. All they need to do is use their brains.
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Nicole Briggs looks at a real human brain being displayed as part of new exhibition at the @Bristol attraction on March 8, 2011 in Bristol, England. The Real Brain exhibit – which comes with full consent from a anonymous donor and needed full consent from the Human Tissue Authority – is suspended in liquid with a engraved full scale skeleton on one side and a diagram of the central nervous system on the other and is a key feature of the All About Us exhibition opening this week.
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BrainGate replaced the ordinary cable connections with a small transmitter around 5.08 centimeter in maximum length. This cable also weighs a little more than 42 grams.
The researchers added that there is also a device that can be attached to the patient’s head, which connects to an electrode array housed inside the brain’s motor cortex.
“We’ve demonstrated that this wireless system is functionally equivalent to the wired systems that have been the gold standard in BCI performance for years,” said John Simeral, the assistant professor of engineering of Brown University.
“These signals are recorded and transmitted with appropriately similar fidelity, which means we can use the same decoding algorithms we used with wired equipment,” he added.
How effective is it?
BrainGate’s researchers said that their new study involved two paralyzed patients, who are at the age of 35 and 63. They said that they suffer from paralysis because of their spinal cord injuries.
Thanks to the new brain-controlled computer, the study’s experts confirmed that the two paralyzed individuals were able to use the system 24 hours at their home. However, further tests should still be conducted.
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Written by: Giuliano de Leon
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