Using our brains to control things sounds like something out of a Marvel/DC movie involving telepathics and whatnot. However in reality, such technology has existed for a while. For example back in 2012 as part of the BrainGate program, a woman successfully managed to control a robotic arm to feed her sips of coffee just by using her mind.
That was not the only success story from BrainGate. Recently it has been revealed that scientists have managed to connect a tablet to a patient’s brain who is suffering from Lou Gehrig’s disease. This was done by modifying an existing setup in which implanted electrodes into the patient’s brain. These electrodes recorded brain activity so when the patient looking at a key on the keyboard, that key would then be “pressed”.
However that setup was found to be painfully slow, and not to mention not particularly accurate, which is when the team behind the system realized that they could apply the technology to touchscreen devices, leading them to choose the Nexus 9 tablet for their trials. This proved to be a success thanks to several features of the operating system such as autocomplete, which helped speed up typing.
The fact that the patient now has access to the entire app store also expanded what they can do with it and improving their quality of life. However this is just the start. According to Dr. Paul Nuyujukian, a neuroengineer and physician from Stanford University, “Our goal is to unlock the full user interface common to general-purpose computers and mobile devices. This is a first step towards developing a fully-capable brain-controlled communication and computer interface for restoring function for people with paralysis.”