Thinkpads could become a reality

Scientists claim that they are close to creating a tablet or laptop which is controlled by your mind. The big idea would be to make touchpad screens and keyboards obsolete.

Researchers have found a way of moving complex visual images on a computer screen using only the mind.

According to the journal Nature, boffins working for the National Institutes of Health, found that when research subjects had their brains connected to a computer displaying two merged images, they could force the computer to display one of the images and discard the other.

Apparently the signals transmitted from each subject’s brain to the computer were derived from just a handful of brain cells.

Itzhak Fried, a professor of neurosurgery at the University of California, Los Angeles said that the subjects could use their thoughts to override the images they saw on the computer screen.

The downside is that you need wires implanted into your skull. The study used 12 people with epilepsy who had fine wires implanted in their brains to record seizure activity.

The wires were inserted in the medial temporal lobe, a brain region important for memory and the ability to recognise complex images, including faces.

Another downside was that it only worked 70 percent of the time.

This type of technology could be extremely useful for helping paralysed individuals to communicate or control prosthetic limbs but we don’t think that keyboards and touch screens are going anywhere out of fashion, yet.