Man Who is Paralyzed Communicates by Imagining Handwriting

(NPR) – An experimental device that turns thoughts into text has allowed a man who was left paralyzed by an accident to construct sentences swiftly on a computer screen.

The man was able to type with 95% accuracy just by imagining he was handwriting letters on a sheet of paper, a team reported Wednesday in the journal Nature.

“What we found, surprisingly, is that [he] can type at about 90 characters per minute,” says Krishna Shenoy of Stanford University and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

The device would be most useful to someone who could neither move nor speak, says Dr. Jaimie Henderson, a neurosurgeon at Stanford and co-director, with Shenoy, of the Stanford Neural Prosthetics Translational Laboratory. CONTINUE