Monkeys Move Robotic Arm With Brains

Research could give paralyzed people more mobility
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 28, 2008 6:49 PM CDT
Monkeys Move Robotic Arm With Brains
A Cebus Apella monkey, known as Capuchin monkey, screams at the animal shelter of the National University in Bogota, Colombia, in 2007.    (AP Photo)

Monkeys were able to control a prosthetic arm with their brains, a development that could someday give paralyzed people and amputees more mobility, the New York Times reports. Researchers put sensors in the monkeys' brains, then trained them to manipulate the robotic arm through their thoughts. It's the most promising breakthrough to date in so-called brain-machine interface technology, the Times notes.

The development "is important because it’s the most comprehensive study showing how an animal interacts with complex objects, using only brain activity," said a leading expert in the field, who was not associated with the research. (More monkey stories.)

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