Originally posted to IEEE’s The Institute, 09 October 2009 by Kathy Kowalenko
Codirector of the Center for Neuroengineering at Duke University Medical Center, in Durham, N.C., Nicolelis and his team are developing a real-time interface together with a full-body exoskeleton to be controlled by signals from a paraplegic’s brain.

Nicolelis has assembled an international team of neurophysiologists, computer scientists, engineers, roboticists, neurologists, and neurosurgeons at laboratories around the world for his project. Their goal is to enable a paralyzed person to walk again by the end of 2012. The Walk Again Project, the first worldwide nonprofit brain-research initiative of its kind, includes partners in Europe, Latin America, and the United States.
Nicolelis says his newest BMI has merged efforts to control arms and legs into a single interface for the entire body that could be applied to controlling the exoskeleton. So far, however, the merge has been accomplished only on a computer. During the next few months, Nicolelis plans to test a virtual whole-body interface, merging what “we have done for arms and legs into a single device and see if we can get these monkeys to control a whole body avatar,” he says. He is collaborating with Gordon Cheng, a professor of cognition for technical systems at Technical University, Munich.
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