For the first time ever, a brain-to-computer interface (BCI) is available on the market, and can be used by paralysed patients to control their environment.
Researchers around the world have been working on a BCI for the last 20 years, hoping to develop a direct communication channel between the brain and a computer.
A system like this could enable completely paralysed patients to communicate or to control devices in their environment just by mental activity.
More recently, some patients have been supervised by the researchers themselves to use such BCI systems in daily life.
Now, Austrian company g.tec medical engineering has introduced the first patient-ready BCI on the market.
The EEG-based spelling system is called intendiX and enables the user to select keys from a matrix just by paying attention to a target symbol on the screen. In this way the patient can write messages or commands.
intendiX can then speak the written text, print it or copy it into an e-mail message.
The system is designed to be used without the assistance of a technician and can be installed and operated by the caregiver. For most users, it requires only a few minutes of training.