Scientists have developed a brain-computer interface that allows people to operate a computer by the power of thought.
The breakthrough could one day allow patients with paralysis or loss of speech to interact with the outside world far better, as well as provide many new possibilities in other areas, like the gaming industry.
In the experiment, which was published in the April 7th issue of the Journal of Neural Engineering, participating patients were found to be able to move a cursor on a computer screen, by simply thinking of making certain sounds, causing brain activity which could then be harnessed.
This kind of technology could especially help people with severe physical disabilities. By controlling a computer through their thoughts patients would not only be able to communicate in a better way, but also control robotic arms or even their wheelchairs.
The technology could also revolutionise the computer and video gaming industry similar to how Kinect did with its motion sensing capabilities.
“Right now, people who have paralysis will use 'intermediate steps' to control things, like a puffer tube that you breathe into, or a joystick. Interfacing directly with the brain opens up the possibilities. They'd be able to do more things and do things more naturally. They could think about doing something and express it immediately in a seamless way,” Justin C. Sanchez, director of the Neuroprosthetics Research Group at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, said.