A New York startup called CRTL-Labs has a different idea, though. Founded by Thomas Reardon, the creator of Microsoft Internet Explorer, it describes itself as an “applied research neuroscience company” with designs on decoding your neural activity. But unlike many of its rivals in this space it won’t actually venture too close to your cranium to do it. And it certainly won’t be brandishing any drills or other cutting implements.
nstead, CRTL-Labs has developed an electronic wristband which promises to make possible non-invasive mental control of computers, smart prosthetics, and a range of other devices. This brain-computer interface is accomplished by picking up voltage bursts resulting from muscle fibers in the arm when it contracts.
By analyzing these signals, slight body movements can be transformed into computer inputs. Better still, as the video below makes clear, even the intention of movement can be read as movement.
Admittedly, this isn’t a brain-computer interface in the way that we might think of one. However, the reason the team describe it this way is because it may be the fastest means yet of turning the brain’s conscious instructions into useful actions. In this case, the technology becomes a natural extension of thought and movement. Using CRTL-Labs’ prototype device — which looks a bit like the kind of studded armband a 1990s superhero drawn by Rob Liefeld might have sported — users can carry out feats like typing 200 words-per-minute without having to physically touch a keyboard.
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