Duke University scientists have successfully built a brain implant that lets monkeys control a robotic arm with their thoughts. This is the first time that mental intentions have been harnessed to move a mechanical object.
“‘The most amazing result, though, was that after only a few days of playing with the robot in this way, the monkey suddenly realized that she didn’t need to move her arm at all,’ said Nicolelis. ‘Her arm muscles went completely quiet, she kept the arm at her side and she controlled the robot arm using only her brain and visual feedback. Our analyses of the brain signals showed that the animal learned to assimilate the robot arm into her brain as if it was her own arm.’
The possibilities that might develop from this new technology are staggering, from helping people with various degrees of paralysis regain movement in their own limbs, to neural interfaces for most any type of vehicle or aircraft. Heck, you could even link up to your laptop and do your work without the need for a keyboard, mouse or even a microphone. It’d be the ultimate input device.