Thought-control technology invented for robot arms

  • 17 May 2012
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A new robot arm controlled by thoughts in the brain could transform the lives of people whose bodies are paralysed.

The technology at an American university means for the first time in years a lady whose arms didn't work has been able to feed herself a drink.

A computer is linked to a tiny sensor fitted inside the brain, which turns brain commands to electric signals.

The electrical signals then move the robot.

"A real dream"

Cathy Hutchinson, one of the patients, said: "I couldn't believe my eyes when I was able to drink coffee without help. I was ecstatic."

Both patients in this latest project were paralysed many years ago by strokes and can't move any muscles below their necks.

The doctors discovered that even ten years after someone has been paralysed, the part of the brain that deals with movement continues to work.

Scientists say the new technology is a "real dream" for people who have lost the use of their limbs.

But they say the detailed work isn't finished yet - it still needs to go on for many years.

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Pictures courtesy Brown University / Massachusetts General Hospital