Tags: monkeys | steer | thought | wheelchairs | implant

Monkeys Steer Thought-Controlled Wheelchairs Via Brain Implant

Image: Monkeys Steer Thought-Controlled Wheelchairs Via Brain Implant
Two rhesus monkeys can steer thought-controlled wheelchairs in a breakthrough project. (SAM PANTHAKY/AFP/GettyImages, file)

By    |   Friday, 04 Mar 2016 04:23 PM

Scientists have devised a way for monkeys to steer robotic wheelchairs with their thoughts.

The breakthrough project, led by Miguel Nicolelis from Duke University, involves implanting microfilaments in the monkeys' brains, Gizmodo reported. It could be an encouraging development for paralyzed individuals.

Brain-machine-interfaces (BMIs) have been used to control artificial limbs. The recent study expands this technology, according to the study, published in the journal Nature.

“These results demonstrate that intracranial BMIs could restore whole-body mobility to severely paralyzed patients in the future,” the report said.

The implants have lasted in two rhesus monkeys for seven years.

"This is the longest-lasting cortical brain implant ever," Nicolelis told NBC News. "It has provided data to us for the whole time. It should last in humans as long or even longer. Now we have categorical proof that these very flexible nanowires can last for a decade."

Over time, the monkeys improved their ability to steer the wheelchair toward a bowl of grapes.

Nicolelis, who likens the implant to a pacemaker, said the benefits to patients paralyzed by injuries or diseases such as Lou Gehrig's disease could be worth the risks of brain surgery.

Nicolelis previously demonstrated a mind-controlled exoskeleton at the 2014 soccer World Cup competition in Brazil.

"Now we have the possibility of developing something for ALS patients or quadriplegic patients where our exoskeleton would not work," Nicolelis told The Mirror.

Twitter users were intrigued.









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Scientists have devised a way for monkeys to steer robotic wheelchairs with their thoughts. The breakthrough project, led by Miguel Nicolelis from Duke University, involves implanting microfilaments in the monkeys' brains.
monkeys, steer, thought, wheelchairs, implant
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2016-23-04
Friday, 04 Mar 2016 04:23 PM
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