Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Hope for the future


Malcolm Ritter, Associated Press (an organization which is rapidly losing credibility with me, but never mind), writes about brain-controlled robotics.

This, in layman’s terms, means using the brain’s electrical signals to control a mechanical device.

Apparently some paralyzed people are able to do this.

The latest is a report in NATURE from scientists at Brown. A sensor the size of a baby aspirin was implanted in the brains of paralyzed people and they then imagined moving their arms. The cells affected then signaled a computer, which in turn signaled a mechanical arm.

Two participants were involved. They were able to make the thing squeeze a foam ball.

Even though one had not moved her arms in 15 years, apparently the brain was still sending useful signals.

There is hope—that was the message. But practical applications may be a way off. Maybe a decade or more.

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