In early 2017, scientists at Stanford unveiled a groundbreaking BCI system that allows paralyzed patients to type up to 39 characters per minute via direct brain control. Using impossibly complex biotech algorithms, the system is able to translate brain waves into point-and-click commands on a computer screen.
The downside: The system requires a small electrode array to be surgically implanted onto the surface of the brain, then connected to an outside device via cable. But the Stanford team is confident that they will be able to eventually make the system wireless and possibly even refine it to the point where surgical implants won’t be required at all.
Innovations such as the Stanford system suggest that the future of input devices is going to get very ambitious indeed. Several labs around the world are working on establishing direct brain-computer connections, ideally without the cranial surgery. For a sneak-peek glimpse of one company’s bold vision, check out this recent profile on the New York company CTRL Labs, which may be on the verge of a startling BCI breakthrough.
The world of computer input devices is changing rapidly, and the old traditions are fading fast. So be nice to your poor little mouse, won’t you? It’s likely to be a museum relic soon. Maybe give it some fresh batteries. They like that.