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Amputees Learning To Control Robot Arms with Their Minds

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In the future, amputees will be able to use their brain to control robotic arms. A latest study by neuroscientists at the University of Chicago explores this area. The idea is to control a robotic arm through electrodes implanted in the brain.

To test this idea, the researchers worked with:

three rhesus monkeys who suffered injuries at a young age and had to have an arm amputated to rescue them four, nine and 10 years ago, respectively.  In two of the animals, the researchers implanted electrode arrays in the side of the brain opposite, or contralateral, to the amputated limb.  In the third animal, the electrodes were implanted on the same side, or ipsilateral, to the amputated limb.  The monkeys were then trained to move a robotic arm and grasp a ball using only their thoughts. 

The team plans to continue the work to create truly responsive neuroprosthetic limbs.


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