Feeds

Monkey brain signals used to work robots

Monkey magic, monkey magic

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Researchers have moved a step closer to creating workable neural prostheses, following the identification, in monkeys, of the brain signals the lead to motion. They have also been able to use those signals to trigger the same movement in a robot in real time.

Previous work in the area has involved a time delay between intercepting the signals and instigating robotic movement.

The technology is possible because of the way a primate's brain works. Before we do anything, our brains plan it at a sub-conscious level. There is a tiny delay between the planning phase and carrying it out, which can be exploited by a robot.

"As the monkey brain prepares the pattern required to make the movement, we record it and send the signal to a computer," Dr. Miguel Nicolelis, a neuroscientist at Duke University, said. "As the monkey starts to move, our prediction is sent to the robot, and it moves at the same time."

The long term goal of research like this is to develop proper brain to machine interfaces that would allow paralysed people to walk again. The idea behind this is that even if the movement is no longer possible, the brain may still plan a motion. If this is so then eventually someone paralysed from the waist down could use technology like this to walk.

The next step, the researchers said, would be to close the loop. They speculate that eventually a monkey may learn to use a remote robot to do its bidding, without actually carrying out the motions itself.

Once perfected, it could be used by surgeons as they learn to use a prosthetic device as an extension of their bodies.

That, however, is still a long way off the researchers say. The "small" problem of miniaturising and implanting the electrodes still remains to be solved. ®

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
WHY did Sunday Mirror stoop to slurping selfies for smut sting?
Tabloid splashes, MP resigns - but there's a BIG copyright issue here
Spies, avert eyes! Tim Berners-Lee demands a UK digital bill of rights
Lobbies tetchy MPs 'to end indiscriminate online surveillance'
How the FLAC do I tell MP3s from lossless audio?
Can you hear the difference? Can anyone?
Google hits back at 'Dear Rupert' over search dominance claims
Choc Factory sniffs: 'We're not pirate-lovers - also, you publish The Sun'
EU to accuse Ireland of giving Apple an overly peachy tax deal – report
Probe expected to say single-digit rate was unlawful
Inequality increasing? BOLLOCKS! You heard me: 'Screw the 1%'
There's morality and then there's economics ...
While you queued for an iPhone 6, Apple's Cook sold shares worth $35m
Right before the stock took a 3.8% dive amid bent and broken mobe drama
prev story

Whitepapers

A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.