Scientists from the United States have presented a prototype of a wireless brain-computer system. Now paralyzed people can use it to operate prostheses or to type on a laptop.
The researchers explained that brain-to-computer interfaces are an emerging assistive technology that helps paralyzed people type on a computer or use their thoughts to manipulate prostheses. For many years, interfaces used in clinical research have required cables to connect the sensory matrix in the brain. These signals are then decoded and controlled by external devices.
BrainGate clinical trials are the first to test such devices with a wireless transmitter. The system is capable of transmitting brain signals without physically binding the user to the decoding system. The researchers replaced traditional cables with a small transmitter, measuring only a few centimeters and weighing 42 grams. The device was mounted on the top of the user’s head and connected to an electrode array inside the motor cortex.
In a clinical trial, two paralyzed patients used the BrainGate system with a wireless transmitter to indicate whether to press buttons or enter text on a standard tablet. The study found that the wireless system transmits signals with almost the same accuracy as wired systems, and the participants achieved the same pointing and typing accuracy.
“We have demonstrated that this wireless system is functionally equivalent to wired systems that have been the gold standard for many years,” said John Semeral, assistant professor of engineering at Brown University in the United States. – Signals are recorded and transmitted with similar accuracy, which means that we can use the same decoding algorithms that we used for wired equipment. The only difference is that people no longer need to be physically attached to our equipment, which opens up new possibilities in terms of using the system. ”