Researchers at the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience of the Maastricht University (Netherlands) developed a revolutionary new technology that allows any user to type words and whole phrases (letter by letter) in real time just by thinking of them.
The system makes use of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) in order to analyze the hemodynamic responses of the brain caused by mental images corresponding to each letter of the alphabet, and these in their turn to different fMRI signals.
To make the system work correctly, the patient first should adjust it to his brain activity by looking at the letters on the screen and thinking of something for a specific time period. After the same procedure is done for all letters of the alphabet, he can start typing letters one after the other using nothing but his brain.
The technology has been tested in patients with great success. Bettina Sorger, the lead author of the study, and her colleagues believe that in the future the system could be used both in diagnostics and in establishing communication with patients who suffer from severe motor impairment.
Of course, this technique is not as fast as typing with your fingers but it has a high potential that could open new horizons for technology.