Monkey Uses Its Mind To Control Another Primate, In Tests Scientists Hope Could Help Paralyzed People

Written by on February 20, 2014 in Sci-Tech, Science with 0 Comments

Kashmira Gander | The Independent | 19th Feb 2014

key step forward monkeyScientists have developed a way for monkeys to control “avatars” that could be used to help paralysed people move their bodies.

In the tests scientists found that brain signals from the master monkey’s mind could be used to stimulate an avatar’s spinal cord to control its movements.

The findings published in the Nature Communications journal have been called a “key step forward” and could help people who have damaged their spinal cord to the extent that its stops information flowing from the brain to the body.

People with such damage are often left unable to walk or feed themselves, and researchers say that even the smallest amount of movement could dramatically improve a person’s life, the BBC reported.

The scientists from Harvard Medical School in the US envisage their findings could go towards creating machinery to help patients.


As researchers said they could not justify paralysing a monkey for the study, they used a conscious monkey with an implanted brain chip, and an unconscious avatar to be controlled.

During the experiment, the conscious monkey’s movements were mapped according to patterns of electrical activity in its neurons.

The scientists then hooked the avatar’s spinal cord up to 36 electrodes to measure how it moved according to different combinations of stimulation.

In a different test, as the sedated monkey held a joystick, the master thought about moving a cursor up and down.

In 98 per cent of tests, the master could correctly control the avatar’s arm.

One of the researchers, Dr Ziv Williams, told the BBC: “The goal is to take people with brain stem or spinal cord paralysis and bypass the injury.

“The hope is ultimately to get completely natural movement, I think it’s theoretically possible, but it will require an exponential additional effort to get to that point.”

Dismissing claims that the technology could be used to control people’s bodies, Professor Christopher James of University of Warwick told the BBC: ”Some people may be concerned this might mean someone taking over control of someone else’s body, but the risk of this is a no-brainer.

[read full post here]

Tags: , ,

Subscribe

If you enjoyed this article, subscribe now to receive more just like it.

Subscribe via RSS Feed Connect on YouTube

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

FAIR USE NOTICE. Many of the articles on this site contain copyrighted material whose use has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making this material available in an effort to advance the understanding of environmental issues, human rights, economic and political democracy, and issues of social justice. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of the copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law which contains a list of the various purposes for which the reproduction of a particular work may be considered fair, such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. If you wish to use such copyrighted material for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use'...you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. And, if you are a copyright owner who wishes to have your content removed, let us know via the "Contact Us" link at the top of the site, and we will promptly remove it.

The information on this site is provided for educational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for professional advice of any kind. Conscious Life News assumes no responsibility for the use or misuse of this material. Your use of this website indicates your agreement to these terms.

Paid advertising on Conscious Life News may not represent the views and opinions of this website and its contributors. No endorsement of products and services advertised is either expressed or implied.
Top

Send this to a friend