Monkey Games

One of the ultimate goals in neurotechnology is to develop devices that will allow people tothink their computer to do things. “Hm. Let’s see… I’d like to search for cyber gear suppliers on Google”. Then, off you go.

A potentially more useful application could significantly aid individuals who are retrofitted with a prosthetic limb due to an injury. For example, you could just think about picking up that mouth-watering can of soda, instead of contracting shoulder muscles in complicated way to position the arm into place.

Brown University researchers implanted a small device into a Rhesus monkey’s brain to record the electrical activity from an amazingly small number of cortical neurons (they claim only six!). The monkey moved a cursor around on a computer screen with his hands on a joystick, then the device output the electrical activity from the set of connected neurons. The scientists next determined a mathematical model that will relate the neuron firing to moving the cursor.

Finally, they disconnected the control of the joystick, but allowed the monkey to continue to use it, and instead connect up the neuron device. The monkey continued to think about playing the cursor-moving game, and the cursor moved!

[Read the article from NewsFactor Sci-Tech]

[Read the complementary article from BBC News]

[Read another complementary article from ABC News]

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Last updated August 3, 2020