Brain-machine interfaces promise to aid paralyzed patients by re-routing movement-related signals around damaged parts of the nervous system.
a web focus by Nature
“Gentlemen, we can rebuild him. We have the technology,” announced the narrator at the start of the 1970s television series The Six Million Dollar Man. The programme showed scientists reconstructing the shattered body of crash victim Steve Austin with bionic implants he could control with his mind. At the time, this was pure fantasy, but two papers in this week’s Nature suggest that the direct interfacing of the human brain with computers or robots is no longer confined to fiction.”
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A new study in Nature demonstrates a human with spinal injury manipulating a screen cursor and robotic devices by thought alone. Implanted electrodes in his motor cortex recorded neural activity, and translated it into movement commands. A second study, in monkeys, shows that brain-machine interfaces can operate at high speed, greatly increasing their clinical potential. This Nature Web Focus includes exclusive interviews and video footage of experiments, alongside papers that paved the way for these recent advances.
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