A paralyzed patient sends messages using thoughts and an iPhone

Now, patients with paralysis can connect their iPhones directly to their brains and type using their thoughts.

Synchron, a New York-based brain-computer-interface company, has just helped a paralyzed person send messages on their Apple device. This is a huge step forward in an industry which has been reporting progress. It suggests that the interface of our minds with consumer electronics could be happening sooner than we thought.

Brain-computer devices listen to brainwaves, and then convert them into commands. The same neural signals healthy people use to tell their muscles to twitch to perform a movement, such as walking or grasping a thing, can be used to control a robotic hand or move the cursor on a screen. This is an amazing and revolutionary piece of technology that will benefit those who have no means of communication and are paralyzed.

This technology isn’t exactly new. Scientists have been working on brain-computer interfaces since the 1960s, but only in recent years have we seen significant progress. Elon Musk, who founded a company named Neuralink to develop technology to allow people to wirelessly transmit and receive data between their brains and computers — connecting the mind with devices — has also jumped on the bandwagon. This technology is meant to allow anyone, including healthy, normal people, to enhance their abilities through the use of machines. Neuralink will release a video in 2021 of a monkey playing pong with a Neuralink implanted device. The company plans to begin clinical trials soon with humans.