The new technique uses a computer to convert attempted handwriting movements from brain activity into on-screen text. As part of their tests, the team worked with a 65-year-old participant (named T5 in the study) who was paralyzed from the neck down due to a spinal cord injury sustained in 2007.
The researchers started by placing two brain chip implants into T5’s motor cortex — the part of the brain that controls movement. They told the participant to imagine he was writing normally with a pen on a piece of ruled paper. The brain chips then sent his neural signal through wires to a computer where an AI algorithm essentially transcribed his “mindwriting” by decoding hand and finger motion.
The end result saw T5 reach a writing speed of about 18 words per minute with 94.1 percent accuracy. Comparatively, an able-bodied adult of a similar age can type about 23 words per minute on a smartphone