We’ve been covering the development of the BrainGate brain-computer interface system for the last seven years, and we’re glad to see that it’s now at a point where severely disabled tetraplegics are able to control a robotic arm in three dimensional space purely by thinking about it.
The system relies on an implanted 96-channel microelectrode array attached to the brain that records the motor cortex neurons responsible for arm movement. Because the implant reads the very neurons that are normally activated during arm movement, the people in the study didn’t require any explicit training or instruction in operating the roboarm. One of the two people in the study, who last moved her arms effectively before a severe stroke 14 years prior, was able to control the robotic hand to pick up a cup and take a drink from it.
See for yourself in this Nature video:
Nature News story: Mind-controlled robot arms show promise…
Study abstract in Nature: Reach and grasp by people with tetraplegia using a neurally controlled robotic arm
Flashbacks: Brain-computer interface system: promising results; Braingate Neural Interface Developing Into Wireless Version; Thought-Driven Computer Control by ALS Patient; The Power of Thought; Neurotechnology Provides Hope for the Paralyzed; Brain-controlled ‘robo-arm’; BrainGate Neural Interface System
Link: BrainGate project page…