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Control a Mouse Cursor With a Brain Implant


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Why lift a hand to control your mouse when you can just use your brain? That's apparently what researchers from Washington University were thinking when they published an article in the Journal of Neural Engineering last week on how they implanted sensors on the brain that let users control mice cursors with their electrocorticographic speech network.

Sure, we've all seen it: There are already a number of technologies out there that let people control items with their minds like this headset interface which reads your brain activity from the outside of yor skull, and this interface which lets you control a robotic exoskeleton with your mind. And while there are some technologies already out there that are as invasive as implanting an electrode in your head to control a mouse, none of them have been accurate as this one, which uses the speech area of your brain to control the mouse.

The scientists are using an innovative technique called electrocorticography (ECoG) which allows them tap into the electrical activity from the cerebral cortex using electrodes. The Washington University researchers' electrodes are contained in plastic pads which are implanted underneath the skull and rest on the surface of the brain. This invasive technique gives them more access to stronger higher-frequency waves that tell a lot more about your cognitive intentions. This allowed the specimens (people) to control cursors by saying the sounds "e," "ah," "oo," and "eh."

That sounds super exciting and I can't wait until the technology is evolved enough that we can all get it implanted without any health risks, but I really hope that they can evolve the technology enough so I don't have to say "e," "ah," "oo," and "eh" just to check my facebook page.

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