Japanese scientists are continuing to push for a cyborg future, as researchers at Osaka University are attaching electrode sensors directly to the human brain, to study how the electrical activity can be interpreted to operate mechanical devices.
The aim of the research is to develop real-time mind-controlled robotic limbs for the disabled, according to an announcement made at an April 16 symposium in Aichi prefecture.
Although brain waves can be measured from outside the scalp, a stronger, more accurate signal can be obtained by placing sensors directly on the brain — but that requires open-skull surgery, making it more difficult to recruit volunteer test subjects.
The researchers, who have filed a license application with the Osaka University Hospital ethics board, are working to enlist willing subjects already scheduled to have brain electrodes implanted for the purpose of monitoring epilepsy or other conditions. The procedure, which does not involve puncturing the cortex, places an electrode sheet at the central sulcus, a fold across the center of the brain near the primary motor cortex (which is responsible for planning and executing movements).