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May 15, 2021, 10:27

A group of scientists developed an early prototype of an implant that allowed paralyzed people to write. The new method is much faster than the existing one. How many characters can you write this way in a minute?

Quick overview:

  • HHMI’s research team is working on a neural interface capable of rapidly converting impulses into text;
  • BCI allows paid writing to think at speeds of 90 characters per minute.

Neuralink This is a major improvement in understanding nerve impulses. However, Elon Musk alone isn’t working on reading a human brain. Many teams of scientists are interested in these areas in bioengineering. Researchers From the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) under the direction of Professor Krishna F. Shinui Discover a way to greatly speed up writing for paralyzed people.

Scientists placed implants in the area of ​​the brain that corresponds to communication with the muscles of the hands. Then they asked a 65-year-old paralyzed from the back of the neck to the test subject He imagines himself grabs a pen and begins writing. Thanks to the electrodes of the implants, individual lettering patterns and several additional markings were registered.

This is how a device called BCI (brain computer interface) was created, and it is currently in the early prototype stage. It relies on nearly 200 electrodes placed in the motor frontal cortex, thanks to which it is able to read patterns of neural activity and use artificial intelligence on the basis of a neural network to interpret them as letters displayed on a computer screen. BCI allows you to get typing speeds of up to 90 characters per minute, Which is much faster than the systems in use so far (for example, the cursor is controlled by the movement of the eyeball and the on-screen keyboard).

Character interpretation reliability is now 95%, increased to 99% with text correctionKnown from smartphones. There are, of course, some weaknesses. The device requires weekly calibration due to neurological changes and scar tissue buildup around the implants. At the present stage, BCI is unable to recognize capital letters and punctuation marks.

So far, only one person participates in the tests, and a specific set of words will be used. Typing slows down a bit, character input speed (up to 75 / min) and reliability (98%). It is not known how BCI would work in cooperation with other people. The team of scientists still has a lot of work to do, including testing on a larger group of patients. The new interface is an opportunity for easy communication with the world for paralyzed people.

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