Originally posted on VentureBeat:
It started with a monkey controlling a ball on a screen with its arm. It progressed to become a monkey controlling a ball on a screen with its brain. And it ended by a monkey controlling a robot in Japan … just by thinking.
“This is the complete liberation of the brain from the physical constraints of the body,” brain-machine interface scientist Miguel Nicolelis says in a recent TED talk.
Nicolelis is a pioneer in neuroprosthetics and brain-machine interfaces at Duke University. He’s helped develop technology to “listen” to the brain, to individual neurons and groups of neurons. He and his team can detect when neurons are firing and find patterns in “brain symphonies” that he can then hook into machines. The result is that an animal — like Aurora, his monkey — can learn to control a virtual avatars and real-world machines with no physical contact.