Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Use Thought-Controlled Robotic Arm To Reach And Grab - Science Fiction?

the BrainGate system

Is this just science fiction or the promise of real hope for persons having been affected by stroke and other causes of traumatic brain injury?

This ongoing project actually is accomplishing seemingly the impossible. Matching the movements of a robot to the mental demands of the brain. It is a beginning.

A beginning that proves that the impossible is possible. (here is a quick intro)

"In an ongoing clinical trial, a paralyzed woman was able to reach for and sip from a drink on her own – for the first time in nearly 15 years – by using her thoughts to direct a robotic arm. The trial, funded in part by the National Institutes of Health, is evaluating the safety and feasibility of an investigational device called the BrainGate neural interface system. This is a type of brain-computer interface (BCI) intended to put robotics and other assistive technology under the brain's control.
A report published today in Nature describes how two individuals — both paralyzed by stroke — learned to use the BrainGate system to make reach-and-grasp movements with a robotic arm, as part of the BrainGate2 clinical trial. The report highlights the potential for long-term use and durability of the BrainGate system, part of which is implanted in the brain to capture the signals underlying intentional movement. It also describes the most complex functions to date that anyone has been able to perform using a BCI.
For the woman, it was the first time since her stroke that she was able to sip a drink without help from a caregiver." 

Watch this You Tube video to really get your mind around what this project is really all about.

Read the entire article here. 

Source credit: DHHS, NIH News

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