People with Paralysis Can Control Tablet Devices with Brain-Computer Interface, Claims Study

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Mobile computing devices and tablets are the most used portable devices these days. These devices have made a significant entry in our lives and unknowingly became part of our lives. However, it is true that using such devices by people with paralysis is a difficult task. Emphasizing this issue, a research done by BrainGate showed that BCI brain-computer interface can aid people with paralysis to operate such devices with just thinking about clicking and moving the cursor.

The study was published on November 21 in PLOS ONE, which had three clinical trial participants diagnosed with tetraplegia. They were asked to use the BrainGate BCI Brain-Computer Interface. This is known to record neural activity with the help of sensor that was in motor cortex. Through the help of this participants were able to move cursor and perform tasks on tablets such as sending mails, texting, and, streaming videos and music. The participants send messages to their friends, families, other fellow participants, and the research team. They also shopped online, checked weather, and surfed the web. Amongst them one of them even played Ode to Joy by Beethoven on a digital piano interface.

For the study, research team used Bluetooth interface configuration to make it work like a wireless mouse. The virtual mouse was used on a Google Nexus 9 tablet which was unmodified. The study exhibited that these participants were making 22 point and click selections in a minute while going through various apps. When it came to text apps, they were typing 30 characters in minute on standard text and email interfaces.

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