The Scientist is reporting on a breakthrough technology called "BrainGate" that allows a woman who is paralyzed to control a robotic arm with her mind. From the article:
Two patients who lost the use of their limbs (and the ability to speak) following brainstem strokes successfully reached out and touched a foam ball, thanks to a small array of electrodes implanted on their motor cortexes and a robotic arm that followed the command of their neurons, according to a Nature paper published today (May 16).
“These results are the first peer-reviewed demonstrations of 3 dimensional reaching and grabbing tasks using direct brain control of a robotic device,” study coauthor Leigh R. Hochberg, who has appointments at Brown University, Harvard Medical School, and Providence VA Medical Center, said at a press conference yesterday. “I believe that these are milestones in brain-computer interface research with exciting implications for neuroscience and neural rehabilitation.”
The device that made these advances possible, called BrainGate, made headlines in 2006 when patients successfully controlled a computer cursor. Since then, the system has been refined and connected to a robotic arm that can actually carry out the commands of the motor cortex.
Read the entire piece at The Scentist. Video below.