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A man who cannot move his arms or hands has used his thoughts to write on a computer screen. The man has been paralyzed from the neck down for almost a decade. Scientists from Stanford University in the USA implanted two tiny sensors into the man's brain. The scientists gave this method two names - "brain-to-text" and "mindwriting". The man wants to remain anonymous, so scientists have called him T5. He became paralyzed after suffering a spinal cord injury ten years ago. The implants have allowed T5 to use his mind to write. He can write 90 characters (about 18 words) per minute. This is five words slower than the average person writing a text message on a smartphone.



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The mindwriting system is very simple, but it involved a lot of advanced technology. Scientists asked T5 to imagine holding a pen and then writing a sentence on a paper. The sensors in T5's brain detected the activity in his brain as he imagined writing. A computer decoded this activity into text on a screen. The scientists used a special algorithm to do this. Professor Jaimie Henderson, a Stanford University researcher, hopes this research could help millions of paralyzed people, and those who have lost the ability to speak, to write again. He said: "The goal is to restore their ability to communicate by text." This technology may one day help anyone to write at the speed of thought.

Sources:

  • https://edition.cnn.com/2021/05/13/americas/paralyzed-handwriting-scn-scli-intl/index.html
  • https://www.the-scientist.com/news-opinion/brain-computer-interface-user-types-90-characters-per-minute-with-mind-68762
  • https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-00776-8

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