Last May we reported on research utilizing the BratinGate brain-computer interface (BCI), which allows severely paralyzed patients to control a robotic arm in three-dimensional space. The participants had electrodes implanted directly into their brains, and were able to quickly learn how to move the arm without explicit instruction.
A team from the University of Pittsburgh has been working on a very similar parallel project, and just published their findings in The Lancet. They describe a 52 year-old woman who had a couple 96-channel intracortical microelectrodes implanted, and was able to perform rather dextrous tasks using a nearby robotic arm. As she hoped to achieve at the beginning of the project, she was able to feed herself chocolate and pointedly announced that this was “One small nibble for a woman, one giant bite for BCI.”
Here’s video of Ms. Scheuermann in charge of the robot from The Lancet:
Press release: Woman with Quadriplegia Feeds Herself Chocolate Using Mind-Controlled Robot Arm in Pitt/UPMC Study
Study abstract in The Lancet: High-performance neuroprosthetic control by an individual with tetraplegia