03 June 2008

Monkeys were taught to mentally control a prosthetic arm

Scientists from the University of Pittsburgh (University of Pittsburgh) under the guidance of Professor of neuroscience Andrew Schwartz (Andrew Schwartz) have developed a brain-computer interface, with which the experimental macaques were able not just to move the cursor on the display, as in previous experiments, but to eat independently, using a mechanical hand.

To control the manipulator, a network of miniature electrodes was implanted into the motor area of the monkeys' cerebral cortex. The impulses of electrical activity arising in the cortex were transmitted to a computer, which analyzed them and translated them into signals coming to the electric drives of a mechanical arm capable of simulating the movements of the shoulder and elbow joints, as well as squeezing and unclenching fingers (so far – only two).

The macaques' hands were immobilized by placing them in plastic tubes. After training, two monkeys learned to confidently remove pieces of fruit from the pin and bring them to their mouths. You can see how this happens on the video.

Dr. Schwartz considers the development of similar devices for paralyzed people to be his immediate goal.

Of course, for the introduction of such prostheses into practice, many more tasks will have to be solved, but, undoubtedly, this work is a big step forward.

The report on the experiment (Meel Velliste et al., Cortical control of a prosthetic arm for self-feeding) is published in Nature.

Portal "Eternal youth" www.vechnayamolodost.ru according to the materials of the BBC


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