Monkey Controls Robotic Arm with Incredible AccuracyOkay, so we’ve seen monkeys being trained to manipulate robotic arms before. We’ve even seen that happen with electrodes in their brain. but we’ve never seen anything like this.
Without any training, and by moving his existing hand, scientists at the Brain-Computer Interface Research Team at Zhejiang University in Zijingang, China managed to get Jianhui the monkey to move a robotic hand.
What that means, simply, is that the team has managed to decipher the monkey’s brainwaves and determine what motion should come out as a result. Which is big, big news.
Two sensors were implanted into Jianhui’s brain, listening to just 200 different neurons. Despite the tiny sample size, the team was able to process the data and figure out how the monkey was moving his hand, and make another robotic hand, hidden from Jianhui’s view, move that way. Said Zheng Xiaoxiang of the research team,
"Hand moves are associated with at least several hundreds of thousands of neurons. We now decipher the moves based on the signals of about 200 neurons. Of course, the orders we produced are still distant from the truly flexible finger moves in complexity and fineness."
But then, the sample size is still only 200 neurons. Boost that number to 1,000, and who knows what will happen.
Combine this with those quantum dots we saw a while ago for listening to and stimulating neurons without the need for surgery, and you’ve got a recipe for full cybernetic limbs. Now all we need are fusion reactors as a power source, and we’re officially living in the future.