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ICYMI: Brain Implant Turns Imagined Words Into Text on a Screen

  • Published7 Jun 2021
  • Author Alexis Wnuk
  • Source BrainFacts/SfN
'Hello' on computer screen
iStock.com/Eugene_Sim

Electrodes implanted in a paralyzed man’s brain decoded his thoughts and turned them into text on a screen, researchers reported May 12 in Nature. They asked the man, who experienced a spinal cord injury in 2007 and was paralyzed from the neck down, to imagine slowly writing letters and words. Two brain-computer interface devices implanted in his brain recorded electrical activity in an area of the motor cortex that controls hand and arm movements. Using a computer algorithm, the researchers figured out the unique patterns of neural activity corresponding to specific letters. The algorithm decoded these signals to generate text on a screen. Using his thoughts, he “typed” 90 characters per minute, just shy of the average texting speed for older adults.

Related: Brain-Machine Interfaces: Converting Thoughts Into Action

Read more: New Brain Implant Turns Visualized Letters into Text. Scientific American

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