Surely the ultimate in user interface options, a telepathic smartphone linkup sounds like science fiction. But once again, we can dutifully report that the research labs are doing some amazing work. In fact, scientists are getting ridiculously close to actually pulling this one off.
Advanced brain-computer interface technology, or BCI, would solve many of the most pressing input problems that smartphones have today — in particular, typing. In February of 2017, researchers at Stanford University unveiled a system that allows patients with spinal injuries to type words on a computer screen, via direct brain control, at up to 39 characters per minute. Two aspirin-sized electrode arrays, placed directly on the brain, record signals from the motor cortex and translate them into point-and-click commands on an onscreen keyboard.
The Stanford study was a major milestone for helping people with disabilities, but researchers say the system could also applied to smartphones without much modification. Surgery is optional, by the way: BCI electrodes are more accurate when surgically implanted, but they can also work via electrical leads placed on the scalp. In fact, such biosensors are already on the market for developers making brainwave-controlled apps.