Category : Editorial

If wishes were mechanically wired to the brain, even invalids could fly. That what scientific advances being made 11 laboratories around the world keep telling us, as when US scientists literally harnessed menial intentions to move mechanical objects. To build a neuronal model for translating the animal's brain signals into the movements of a robotic arm, data of neuron activity in a monkey's brain has been used, which was recorded by researchers as it played with a cursor on a computer screen. The model was then implanted in the primate so that it could control the device virtually by 'thinking' about it.

It's not that this is the first time on artificial neural system of this kind was used to re-link edited brain waves back to the brain to control mechanical movement. There have been many similar experiments on rodents, chimps and even humans to prove that the technique could someday allow paraplegics to operate artificial limbs by the power of thought alone. The most important thing of this of this latest development is that for the first time, an animal seems to have used 'its brain to reach out for on object and pick it up, unlike earlier trials where they merely communicated with a video screen. This is certainly a leg-up for neuroscientists who should now try work out techniques that would enable one to transmit mental commands to machines without using any connecting cabels.

Once developed, the technology would have innumerable applications. One of the first, of course, would be to be quadriplegics move their limbs by prompting neural messages to leapfrog severed nerves - that caused the paralysis – and reach the muscles, it isn't far-fetched, either, to think of such brain implants someday helping, say, military commanders remotely control robotic soldiers, or surgeons to operate on patients on the other side of the planet.


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