"A new brain chip that allows monkeys to control a virtual hand and sense touch may be the breakthrough needed to give paralyzed patients the protheses control they need"
Scientists have created a brain implant that not only allows monkeys to control a computer with their thoughts, it also allows them to “feel” the virtual objects. The new, two-way, brain-machine-brain interface represents a major breakthrough in the field of neuroprosthetics. Bolstered by the results, the scientists plan to test the technology on a quadriplegic in just three years.
There have been a number of advances in brain-machine-interface (BMI) research in recent years. Implants have allowed monkeys to control computer cursors and even a robotic arm with impressive precision. In the current study, two macaques were trained to control a virtual arm on the computer screen and use it to “grasp” virtual objects. What separates these macaques from past BMI trainees is that, when their virtual hands contacted the virtual objects they were able to “feel” the objects.
The macaques were shown three identical objects on the computer screen. They were trained to pass the virtual hand over the three objects and to choose the one that evoked a sensation.
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