Two people who are unable to move their limbs have been able to guide a robot arm to reach and grasp objects using only their brain activity, a paper in Nature reports today
The study participants — known as Cathy and Bob — had had strokes that damaged their brain stems and left them with tetraplegia and unable to speak. Neurosurgeons implanted tiny recording devices containing almost 100 hair-thin electrodes in the motor cortex of their brains, to record the neuronal signals associated with intention to move.
In a trial filmed in April last year and presented with the paper, Cathy, who had her stroke 15 years ago and received the implants in 2005, used her thoughts to steer a robot arm to grasp a bottle of coffee and lift it to her lips. She drank and smiled
This breakthrough is both amazing and scary at the same time!
The Research is being carried out by a consortium of universities called BrainGate.