Wednesday, May 11, 2005

cyborg-ish rhesus macaque monkeys taught to control robotic arm in another room

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the arm isn't even in the same room! miguel nicolelis, a mildly mad scientist at the center for neuroengineering has clandestinely slipped some small slivers of electric wire into 2 rhesus macaque monkeys' brains, and recorded the noise. specifically, the wires went directly into the part that controls their arms. the monkeys were taught to interact with cursors on a screen and rewarded for it. the way that they were taught to interact with the screen allowed them to control a robotic arm in the next room, after scientists decoded the noise emitted to the electrodes in their brains. the cool part is that their brain adapted so that they no longer had to move their real arms in order to control the robotic arm, their brain split a section off just for the use of the robotic arm. and they could still use their two other arms independently.

this study shows the brains amazing adaptability, called neuroplasticity, which not only allows our brain to adapt to new habits, thoughts and circumstances, but also to adapt around electrode arrays in our heads, allowing us to distantly control things like mouse cursors on a screen (a paraplegic guy can already play pong through machinic telepathy), robotic arms and much more.

full article at biology news net.

image above by rob camp

2 comments:

Tony said...

I've really enjoyed reading your blog. Very interesting.

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Tony said...

I've really enjoyed reading your blog. Very interesting.

My biology news article site has lots of info pertaining to biology news article.

Come visit sometime :)