BrainGate 2 Technology Can Turn Your Thoughts to Text

By Nitish Singh / November 24, 2018

Technology is stretching the limits of what people with physical limitations due to neurological conditions can do. Thanks to the development of a new electrode array system called BrainGate 2, differently abled individuals may soon be able to turn their thoughts into text.

BrainGate's technology involves the use of microelectrode arrays that are implanted into the brain. These arrays are capable of decoding thoughts by scanning for neural activity. However, the technology doesn’t read your thoughts; it simply offers users with physical limitations the ability to use a cursor and keyboard on a digital screen and write what they want to communicate. By simply using intentions, users can use technology for communication purposes or even browsing the internet.

The researchers who conducted the study revealed, "Participants navigated the user interface comfortably despite not having access to all of the gestures commonly used on a tablet (e.g., click and drag, multitouch). This precluded certain functions such as scrolling up and down on the tablet web browser. Some of these limitations would have been overcome by enabling accessibility features found in the Android OS or third-party programs. Additionally, modifying the Android OS keyboard layout as we have done in prior reports would have likely increased typing rates."

This is not the first time researchers have developed a brain-computer interface. However, what sets BrainGate 2 apart is that users can navigate on any unmodified device like a laptop, tablet or smartphone without requiring any special modifications. Three users have been part of the test program which yielded promising results, and with some refining, it may become a mainstream solution. Individuals who are physically limited are often reliant on specially modified devices that can cost a fortune and BrainGate 2 can make communication much cheaper.

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