Scientists have trained monkeys to control a robotic arm using the power of their thoughts. The research, which involved wiring electrodes into the animals’ brains, is aimed at producing controllable prosthetic limbs for patients with stroke, spinal cord injuries or neurodegenerative conditions.
AFTER buttoning up a lab coat, snapping on surgical gloves and spraying them with alcohol, I am deemed sanitary enough to view a robot’s control system up close. Without such precautions, any fungal spores on my skin could infect it. “We’ve had that happen. They just stop working and die off,” says Mark Hammond, the system’s creator.