Technology that allows paralyzed people to use thought commands to manipulate computers already exists. However, it is not practical for everyday use: the design is complicated and messy, involving many wires and laboratory environments. In a consortium called BrainGate, researchers from Brown University and Blackrock Microsystems invented a wireless device that can potentially bring mind-control technology out of the labs and into people’s homes.
Here’s how the technology works:
- A small device attaches to a person’s skull and is wired to electrodes inside the brain.
- A brain implant collects electrical signals that are emitted by neurons inside the cortex.
- The skull device contains a processor that amplifies the electrical signals and digitizes the information. It also has a radio that beams the information to a receiver a few feet away.
- Then the information is available as a control signal which can, for example, move a cursor across a computer screen.
The device, called Cereplex-W will work at a rate of 48 MB per second, which is about the speed of a home internet connection. It only requires 30 milliwatts of battery power. It is currently being sold to laboratories for primate testing at $15,000 each. Plans for human testing are coming soon.
Source: MIT Technology Review