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Input Devices Science

Typing With Your Brain 262

destinyland writes "This article asks, 'Why bother to type a document using a keyboard when you can write it by simply thinking about the letters?' A brain wave study presented at the 2009 annual meeting of the American Epilepsy Society shows that people with electrodes in their brains can 'type' using just their minds. The study involved electrocorticography — a sheet of electrodes laid directly on the surface of the brain after a surgical incision into the skull. ('We were able to consistently predict the desired letters for our patients at or near 100 percent accuracy,' explains one Mayo clinic neurologist.) And besides typing, there's new brain wave applications that can now turn brain waves into music and even Twitter status updates — by thought alone."
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Typing With Your Brain

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  • by SpeedyDX ( 1014595 ) <speedyphoenix&gmail,com> on Wednesday December 23, 2009 @01:50PM (#30536942)

    I only speak for myself here, but it seems like thinking about letters is actually harder than typing on a keyboard. I don't really think about what letters I'm pressing when I type, I just think of the words and the vast majority of the time, it's just muscle memory doing its thing. Perhaps for novel words or words that I don't quite remember how to spell, I'll think of the letters individually. Sounds like more trouble than it's worth.

    Further, it's not entirely clear that our cognitive capacities reside solely in our brain. The rest of our body could have a role to play in cognition. It could be the case that when we're typing, a big part of our typing cognitive process actually depends on our body executing typing actions. For more info, see Embodied Embedded Cognition [], Enactivism [], and other related philosophy of mind or AI theories.

  • by gzearfoss ( 829360 ) on Wednesday December 23, 2009 @02:17PM (#30537242)

    From the article, the rate is up to 8 characters per minute.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 23, 2009 @02:45PM (#30537512)

    Let me be the first to say that muscle memory, in the form you have implied, is pure garbage. Muscles, by themselves, are only capable of contracting and relaxing as the result of a chemical-based stimulation brought on by the nervous system; there is no built-in cognition or post-processing. The only thing muscles do besides move is grow and atrophy in response to usage patterns and nutrient availability. To think that there is anything more than that to our muscular system is laughable. What you are describing as "muscle memory" is really the result of a nervous system rewiring that takes place entirely within the brain, creating pathways that result in the nearly autonomous execution of a learned movement pattern.

    Regardless, even if your description of muscle memory were true, the choice to execute a memorized movement pattern still occurs within the brain, so this technology tree still applies.

"Never face facts; if you do, you'll never get up in the morning." -- Marlo Thomas