ROBOT: neurorobotics

From: J. R. Molloy (
Date: Fri Nov 17 2000 - 12:28:45 MST

Brain Signals Move Robotic Arm
(AP) - Researchers have wired the brains of monkeys to control
robotic arms - a feat that could one day allow paralyzed people to
move artificial arms and legs merely by thinking. The wires fed
electrical impulses from the brains of two monkeys into a computer
linked to robotic arms. When the monkeys reached for food or
manipulated a joystick, the robotic arms mimicked those motions. For
people who are paralyzed because of spinal cord injuries or diseases
of the central nervous system, such wiring could one day enable them
to bypass the damage and send impulses directly to their muscles. "It
is in the realm of reality. It is not science fiction any more," said
Duke University researcher Miguel Nicolelis. In the monkey
experiments, 96 wires, each half the thickness of a human hair, were
connected to six areas of one animal's brain, while 32 wires were
connected to two areas of the second monkey's brain. The robotic arms
performed simple to-and-fro movements similarly with each monkey. But
they performed three-dimensional movements better when directed by
the monkey with more implants. The Duke researchers' findings were
reported in Thursday's issue of the journal Nature. They are now
working on a chip that could be implanted under the skin, replacing
the external computer.
SOURCE: Nature Neuroscience 1999;2:664-670.

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