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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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  • oh god (Score:5, Insightful)

    by darkitecture ( 627408 ) on Wednesday December 23, 2009 @01:45PM (#30536878)
    yes, because what we need is more twitter.

    whenever i hear about groundbreaking advancements in the neurosciences, i for one automatically think about how it can improve my twitter feed.

  • Very interesting (Score:2, Insightful)

    by jocabergs ( 1688456 ) on Wednesday December 23, 2009 @01:50PM (#30536936)
    I'm curious as to whether or not this will be able to help patients with locked in disorder. Recently in the news there was an story about a man who had been "locked-in", unable to communicate with others for nearly 20 years. The Science-Based Medicine blog did a big write up of this story ( and some of the inherent problems with the way in which they made contact with the patient "facilitated communication". If the accuracy rate is truly as good as claimed this could really be a huge help for individuals who are otherwise unable to communicate with the outside world, a considerably step up from the blink once for yes, twice for no based communication standard. (though if you knew binary code you could be a much more effective blinker)
  • Re:oh god (Score:5, Insightful)

    by girlintraining ( 1395911 ) on Wednesday December 23, 2009 @02:01PM (#30537074)

    whenever i hear about groundbreaking advancements in the neurosciences, i for one automatically think about how it can improve my twitter feed.

    Well, the internet was a groundbreaking advance in information technology that has allowed both advanced physics research and 4chan posts to exist in the same medium. But that's the case with any technology -- it will be used for both really intelligent, and really stupid, purposes. A car is a wonderful advancement that allows people to get to and from work, and then get drunk and turn livingrooms into garages.


  • by Aladrin ( 926209 ) on Wednesday December 23, 2009 @02:02PM (#30537080)

    On the other hand, the first time you tried to type was a lot of work, too. There's nothing saying that there isn't a way to get good at typing like this... Nobody has even tried yet.

  • by mcgrew ( 92797 ) * on Wednesday December 23, 2009 @03:20PM (#30537848) Homepage Journal

    And I fail to see why this is a problem only for men

    The media tell us that men are sex-starved pigs and women are little angels. Since the first part is true, they assume the second is as well. Until, of course, you run across a (usually drunk) woman who doesn't care that you know she's a sex-starved pig, too, and that she's no different from the other women she knows.

    There's a double standard here that has stood since antiquity (with the exception of the 1970s) that says that women who like sex are sluts, while men who don't are woosies or in some way definitely wierd.

    That changed in the seventies when abortion was legal, birth control was cheap and effective, and there were no incurable deadly STDs. The word "slut" lost all meaning, I'm sure a lot of prostitutes went broke, and a woman would walk up to a strange man in a bar with a casual "wanna fuck?"

    Alas, it ended when AIDS came around and women who like sex are once again considered "sluts". Personally, I like so-called "sluts".

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 23, 2009 @03:34PM (#30537966)

    They make excellent friends on the whole, and they don't scream and run away when I invite them over to hang out with a bunch of my female friends. :)

    Why the hell would we scream or run away ? When meeting a lesbian for the first time, I think most guy's thoughts run along the lines of "can we watch ?".

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 23, 2009 @03:39PM (#30538018)

    Look for mainstream interviews with Woz circa 1978-82. They ask him what people will do with computers and he gets tongue-tied. This is true of all the pioneers, but Woz is the most charming. These guys /know/ personal computers are going to be really big, but they completely fail to come up with concrete examples that make any sense in contemporary terms.

    The internet hit the same thing around 1995. We'd always get that really lame example of hitching your refrigerator to the net.

    So yes, you're exactly right. It's dumbass to say we're going to type this way. This is the frige all over again. Obviously, efficient thought-typing is going to take as much careful training as finger-typing. Obviously if we're that busy, we might as well just use our hands in most situations, rather than leave them folded in our laps.

    Typing with your brain is a foolish example. This tech is going to be foundational to exceptionally useful and likely pervasive things that we cannot see yet, but this terrible example is the best we can come up with right now to make headlines.

    There's a kind of Law of Prometheus here. Prometheus can never enumerate all the really cool things we're going to do with the breakthrough in any way that's going to make sense to the immediate recipients.

Matter cannot be created or destroyed, nor can it be returned without a receipt.