Canadian researchers have developed an advanced brain-computer interface that could potentially give patients with brain injures an opportunity to communicate with doctors, or relatives.

Brain-computer interfaces already provide means of interacting for patients with severe injuries, but most of them rely on implanting electrodes. But new methodology offers a non-invasive solution, by measuring near-infrared light and oxygen levels in blood flows. Moreover, time-resolved detection allow to achieve more deeper analysis in blood oxygenation.

In turns out, that it is possible to register, whether the person would like to answer “yes” or “no”, for example, by observing the haemoglobin and deoxyhemoglobin levels.

In the article “Assessing Time-Resolved dNIRS for Brain-Computer Interface Applications of Mental Communication” published in the journal Frontiers in Neuroscience in February researchers have presented the first results on healthy patients with accuracy rates of 75-76%, depending on the methodology, which in their opinion is enough for further application:

“These findings suggest that TR-fNIRS (time-resolved functional near infrared spectroscopy) could be suitable as a BCI (Brain-Computer Interface) for patients with brain injuries”

This system might not actually give an actual voice for severely damaged patients right now, given necessary precautions, that could help to avoid wrong interpretations, but it is one step closer to providing the means of interaction to those, who currently possess no means at all.

As Future Time previously reported, Spanish researchers are also experimenting with brain implants that let blind people see.

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