Researchers have been trying for a long time to use brain signals to control prosthetic limbs. Typically, these studies focus on restoring locomotory functions to people who have lost their arms or legs, but a new technology in Japan shows how technology can improve human capabilities.
Engineers at the Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute in Kyoto have demonstrated how people can be taught to control the third robotic arm through the brain. According to The Verge, eight of the 15 subjects successfully managed to balance a ball on a plate with both arms, while the third used it to lift a bottle of water.
The prosthetic arm moved along a predetermined trajectory and made a single gesture: closing and opening the hand. Similarly, the brain-computer interface used to control the arm is not even a magic machine for reading the thoughts. At one end it contains electrodes that measure the electrical signals in the brain. In this case, the participants were asked to imagine how to open and close the robotic arm. Researchers recorded the signal and turned it into instructions for the prosthetic arm.
Usually prostheses are controlled by other devices or by muscle signals when the device is connected to the human body.
According to the researchers Shuichi Nishio and Christian Penaloza, such technologies not only help the physical development of man, but also the brain.
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