Mind Control Interface

Mind control interfaces of various types have been under development for some years. Test trials with monkeys have been steadily progressive and now some early trials on humans are beginning.

6 Dec 2000
Monkey controls robotic arm using brain signals sent over Internet – [mit.edu]

Monkeys in North Carolina have remotely operated a robotic arm 600 miles away in MIT’s Touch Lab — using their brain signals.

The feat is based on a neural-recording system reported in the November 16 issue of Nature. In that system, tiny electrodes implanted in the animals’ brains detected their brain signals as they controlled a robot arm to reach for a piece of food.

According to the scientists from Duke University Medical Center, MIT and the State University of New York (SUNY) Health Science Center, the new system could form the basis for a brain-machine interface that would allow paralyzed patients to control the movement of prosthetic limbs.

18 Feb 2005
Monkey’s Brain Runs Robotic Arm – [biotele.com]

Robotic arms used by amputees are typically controlled by moving some other part of the body, like the opposite arm. Researchers would like to make such prostheses respond to the whim of the brain.

Now it turns out researchers have found a method so easy (well, relatively so) that a monkey can do it.

In a new study, a monkey fed itself using a robotic arm electronically linked to its brain.

28 May 2008
Monkey Thinks Robot into Action – [technologyreview.com]

In a dramatic display of the potential of prosthetic arms, a monkey at the University of Pittsburgh was able to use his brain to directly control a robotic arm and feed himself a marshmallow. The research, published today in the journal Nature, is the first to show that an interface that converts brain signals directly into action is sophisticated enough to perform a practical function: eating. Researchers who led the work have just begun human tests of a related technology.

2 Jun 2010
Monkey Controls Advanced Robot Using Its Mind – [ieee.org]

In a remarkable demonstration of brain-machine interface technology, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh have taught a monkey to use just its thoughts to control an advanced robotic arm and perform elaborate maneuvers with it.

It’s not the first time a monkey with sensors implanted in its brains has controlled machines with its mind. But this seven-degrees-of-freedom robot arm is probably the most complex system a monkey has ever mastered with its thoughts alone.


Schwartz and his collaborators are now testing the technology in humans. The first test run, begun just last week, is in an epilepsy patient who is undergoing a diagnostic test, known as electrocorticography, in which electrodes are surgically placed on the surface of the brain to try to identify the source of seizures. The surface electrodes are more precise than noninvasive scalp recordings and are less invasive than electrodes implanted into the brain, although they give a cruder level of control. Scientists will piggyback on that diagnostic test and try to use the signals recorded from the electrodes to control a computer program.

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