Typing is an incredibly complex process, and for paralyzed and other disabled people, it's an especially difficult task simply due to the sheer number of possible inputs. So researchers are trying to develop new ways of typing by simply taking out the middle man—our hands. have shattered the record for typing using only a brain implant at a speed four times faster than the previous world record.
Stanford's BrainGate research consortium has been developing methods of connecting keyboard interfaces directly to the brain for several years. Their tech involves inserting electrodes into the brain's motor cortex—the area of the brain that controls motion—and pick up signals from the brain. These signals can then be interpreted as cursor movements on a virtual keyboard.
The consortium has refined their technology over several iterations, and reveals how much progress they've made. The team tested their technology on two subjects, one of whom broke the world record for this style of typing. The man could type at a pace of eight words per minute, four times faster than the previous world record.
Researchers hope that this pace can improved with an autocomplete feature like that found on many mobile keyboards. The team is also working on making the technology wireless and improving the algorithms. If the technology can be made more accurate, it could be used to control more than just a keyboard, like wheelchairs or robotic exoskeletons.