A goal of brain-computer interface research is to develop fast and reliable means of communication for individuals with paralysis and anarthria. We evaluated the ability of an individual with incomplete locked-in syndrome enrolled in the BrainGate Neural Interface System pilot clinical trial to communicate using neural point-and-click control. A general-purpose interface was developed to provide control of a computer cursor in tandem with one of two on-screen virtual keyboards. The novel BrainGate Radial Keyboard was compared to a standard QWERTY keyboard in a balanced copy-spelling task. The Radial Keyboard yielded a significant improvement in typing accuracy and speed-enabling typing rates over 10 correct characters per minute. The participant used this interface to communicate face-to-face with research staff by using text-to-speech conversion, and remotely using an internet chat application. This study demonstrates the first use of an intracortical brain-computer interface for neural point-and-click communication by an individual with incomplete locked-in syndrome.
Keywords: ALS; assistive technology; paralysis; spinal cord injury; stroke; text entry.
© The Author(s) 2014.