"All the letters come up, and each one of them flashes individually," Justin Williams, a UW assistant professor of biomedical engineering who serves as Wilson's faculty adviser, explained in a news release issued today. "And what your brain does is, if you're looking at the 'R' on the screen and all the other letters are flashing, nothing happens. But when the 'R' flashes, your brain says, 'Hey, wait a minute. Something's different about what I was just paying attention to.' And you see a momentary change in brain activity."
The electrodes embedded in the cap read that change and figure out which character is associated with it - although sometimes it takes a few repeats to get the letter absolutely right. "Some people, for whatever reason, are better at this," Williams told me today. "They have stronger brain signals for the given activity."
2007: 7 / 52 = 0.13/week
2008: 16 / 52 = 0.31/week
2009: 20 / 16 = 1.25/week
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