I wrote for Wired:
Wouldn’t it be great if you could control your PC with your brain? Well, this sort of thing may be closer than you think.
Researchers at Brown University have built the first wirelessly rechargeable brain implant that could be used to control wheelchairs, robotic arms, or computer interfaces like cursors and keyboards, as detailed in a paper published in the Journal of Neural Engineering.
Brown and a commercial spin-off called BrainGate have been testing a wired version of the system for years. But being tethered to a computer limits a patient’s range of motion — and it leaves an incision in your head that’s susceptible to infection, says Juan Aceros, a researcher on the project who is now an engineering professor at North Florida University.
So far, the wireless version has only been tested in two Yorkshire pigs and four rhesus macaque monkeys, but Aceros says they plan to test the system on human subjects. This requires approval from the FDA, which may take a couple years. The good news is the devices have been implanted in the animal subjects for over a year without significant complications.