The phrase ‘mind-body connection’ just took a whole new meaning as Stanford researchers have developed a brain implant that would allow paralyzed individuals to type 90 words a minute just by thinking them in their minds.
According to the South China Morning Post (SCMP), the implant offered a differently abled person the chance to type by merely imagining themselves writing something with their hands. Artificial intelligence (AI) was used to decode the neural signals, which then translated the word on screen. The new implant differs from older systems in which a person had to use their mind to navigate the cursor to a specific character on a digital keyboard.
The team behind the feat collated an autocorrect function with the neural implant system, which resulted in a 99 percent accuracy of the typed words. This, the SCPM noted, was an achievement that surpassed the abilities of a regular typist as well.
Although the findings were published in Nature in May, the researchers presented their work in a science teleconference on Saturday. Stanford neuroscientist Krishna Shenoy said during the conference that their work was ‘just the tip of the iceberg’ as leaps of progress was possible as scientists continued to unravel the brain’s mysteries through neuroscientific research.
Shenoy noted that market practices challenged the development as brain implantation surgery brought with it a patient’s skepticism and a hefty monetary cost.
Nevertheless, with companies like Elon Musk’s Neuralink mainstreaming a brain implant as a possible consumer electronic instead of a medical necessity, Shenoy was hopeful that there would be more consumer awareness and investor eagerness to sponsor further research. He further wished that other private companies would put in their money to continue development in the field.