Thursday, April 7, 2011

How to read minds

April 7, 2011

Scientists from Washington University have demonstrated that humans can control a cursor on a computer screen using words spoken out loud or just thought.

The study used electrocortiography (ECoG) to place electrodes directly onto a patient’s brain to record electrical activity. The electrodes emitted signals that were acquired, processed, and stored on a computer.

The clinical trials involved four epileptic patients sitting in front of a screen and trying to move a cursor toward a target using predefined words that were associated with specific directions.

For example, saying or thinking the word “AH” would move the cursor right. By directly connecting the patient’s brain to a computer, the researchers showed that the computer could be controlled with up to 90% accuracy even when no prior training was given.

The researchers identified that speech intentions can be acquired through a site that is less than a centimeter wide and requires only a small insertion into the brain. This study was the first to demonstrate microscale ECoG recordings meaning that future operations that require this technology may use an implant that is very small and minimally invasive.

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Publisher and/or Author and/or Managing Editor:__Andres Agostini ─ @Futuretronium at Twitter! Futuretronium Book at