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Monkeys adapt robot arm as their own

May 11, 2005

Filed under: Neuroprosthetics

From Medical News Today: Monkeys that learn to use their brain signals to control a robotic arm are not just learning to manipulate an external device, Duke University Medical Center neurobiologists have found. Rather, their brain structures are adapting to treat the arm as if it were their own appendage.
The finding has profound implications both for understanding the extraordinary adaptability of the primate brain and for the potential clinical success of brain-operated devices to give the handicapped the ability to control their environment, said the researchers.


Scientist envisions electronic solution to damaged nervous systems

April 3, 2005

Filed under: Neuroprosthetics

Another article on the BrainGate system from Cyberkinetics:

The development means scientists might one day be able to connect the brains of paralyzed patients to muscle stimulators, allowing them to once again move their paralyzed limbs. Donoghue envisions a time in the future when people with spinal cord injuries or disease that attack the nerves will move like others, with wiring under their skin replacing their own nervous system.

Mind Control

February 28, 2005

Filed under: Neuroprosthetics

The March issue of Wired magazine features an article about brain-computer interfaces, with a profile of Mark Nagle, the first patient in a controversial clinical trial that seeks to prove brain-computer interfaces can return function to people paralyzed by injury or disease. His BCI is the most sophisticated ever tested on a human being, the culmination of two decades of research in neural recording and decoding. A Foxborough, Massachusetts-based company called Cyberkinetics built the system, named BrainGate.

John Donoghue, head of neuroscience at Brown University and the founder of Cyberkinetics, eventually wants to hook BrainGate up to stimulators that can activate muscle tissue, bypassing a damaged nervous system entirely. In theory, once you can control a computer cursor, you can do anything from drawing circles to piloting a battleship. With enough computational power, “everything else is just engineering,” says Gerhard Friehs, the neurosurgeon from Brown who implanted Nagle’s device.

The Father of Cyborgs

January 29, 2003

Filed under: Neuroprosthetics

Here’s a follow-up to the very first posting I made to this site, an article in Wired, entitled The Next Brainiacs. Creative Loafing Atlanta has an article with more about Dr. Philip Kennedy and his experiments implanting electrodes into the brains of severely disabled people. More background about Johnny Ray (one of the pioneering patients) is given, including the news that he died last summer of an aneurysm. Future applications–and implications–of this technology are considered. This is going to be interesting.

Controlling Robots with the Mind

September 17, 2002

Filed under: Neuroprosthetics

From Neuroprosthesis News comes a link to a relevant Scientific American article: Controlling Robots with the Mind.

After several hours the rat realized it no longer needed to press the bar. If it just looked at the bar and imagined its forelimb pressing it, its neurons could still express the firing pattern that our brain-machine interface would interpret as motor commands to move the lever. Over time, four of six rats succeeded in this task. They learned that they had to “think through” the motion of pressing the bar. This is not as mystical at it might sound; right now you can imagine reaching out to grasp an object near you–without doing so. In similar fashion, a person with an injured or severed limb might learn to control a robot arm joined to a shoulder.