Brain Machine Interface Being Tested in Humans - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

11/19/07

Brain Machine Interface Being Tested in Humans

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Robotic limbs, moved by thought. It may sound like science fiction, but researchers at the University of Pittsburgh say a tiny computer chip makes it possible for your thoughts to control an object outside of your body.

"We intercept signals from the brain and we use them to control an external device," said Andrew Schwartz, PhD, University of Pittsburgh.

This video from the Society for Neuroscience shows an artificial arm feeding a monkey. While the monkey's real arm is restrained, his thoughts are controlling the robotic arm.

Dr. Schwartz says messages from the brain chip can even bypass damaged brain or nerve cells.

"The range of patients could be stroke patients, could be patients locked in with ALS, so they can't move anything except for their eyes, it could be amputees, to control an artificial replacement arm, it could be spinal cord injured patients that are paralyzed," said Dr. Schwartz.

The procedure is called Brain Machine Interface, or BMI, and it is already being tested in humans, with promising results.

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