Brain implant, robot arm allow paralyzed man to drink a beer

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Brain implant, robot arm allow paralyzed man to drink a beer

Post by Ben Reilly on Tue May 26, 2015 2:28 am

Erik Sorto, 34, has been paralysed from the neck down for the past 13 years. However, thanks to a ground-breaking clinical trial, he has been able to smoothly drink a bottle of beer using a robotic arm controlled with a brain implant. He isn't the first patient to control an arm with a neural prosthetic device. But this represents the first time the implant was placed in a region of the brain thought to control the intention to perform movements, rather than the ensuing mechanics of movement. This difference created surprisingly natural movements and has the potential to work for multiple robotic limbs.

Electrodes implanted in the brain were used to control mechanical motion.

Through illness or injury, millions of individuals have lost the ability to sense and move their bodies. In recent years, a handful of studies have shown that it is possible to record brain activity from such individuals and use this information to restore movement capabilities. Signals recorded from primary motor cortex—a part of the brain that is necessary for the control of movement—have been used to direct external devices such as a cursor on a computer screen, and even robotic arms.

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Ben Reilly
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