Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

2/19/2014 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Partially inspired by 'Avatar,' this is strictly science fact - and not fiction

It's another example of science fiction becoming science fact. In laboratory experiments, one monkey was able to control the body of another monkey through the use of a prosthesis applied to the spine. The practical applications could one day to lead to implants that help patients overcome paralysis.

Could this have sinister applications? The scientists involved with this experiment emphasize that the goal of this research is not for one person to control the body of another.

Could this have sinister applications? The scientists involved with this experiment emphasize that the goal of this research is not for one person to control the body of another.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

2/19/2014 (1 year ago)

Published in Technology

Keywords: Neuroscience, monkeys, experiment, paralysis, Avatar


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Scientists say that paralysis on account of nerve or spinal cord damage remains a challenge for surgical techniques available today.

Scientists are currently trying to restore movement to such patients with brain-machine interfaces that allow people to operate computers or control robotic limbs.

Honor Saint Agatha, patron of fire prevention and bells, by going here --

"However, we were interested in seeing whether one could use brain activity to help control one's own paralyzed limb," study author Ziv Williams says. A neuroscientist and neurosurgeon at Massachusetts General Hospital of Harvard Medical School in Boston, Williams says that  "the benefit there is that you are using your own body as opposed to a mechanical device, which can need a lot of support and is not always practical to carry around with you.

"The hope is to create a functional bypass for the damaged spinal cord or brainstem so that patients can control their own bodies," Williams says.

A brain-to-spinal-cord prosthesis , developed by scientists, connected two adult male rhesus monkeys.

"I was inspired a little by the movie 'Avatar,'" Williams said. If you recall, the main character in the 2009 sci-fi film is a paraplegic. He connects his brain to a computer that helps him control an artificial body.

The monkey that served as the master had electrodes wired into his brain, while the monkey that served as the avatar had electrodes wired into his spine. The avatar's hand was then placed onto a joystick that controlled a cursor displayed on the master's screen.

The avatar monkey was then medicated so that he had no control over his own body. Computers then decoded the brain activity of the "master" monkey and relayed those signals to the spinal cord and muscles of the avatar monkey, which allowed the master to control the cursor by moving the hand of the avatar. A reward of juice was given to the master if he successfully moved the cursor onto a target.

"Probably the biggest challenge we had was having this happen in real-time," Williams said. "In theory, you can record neuronal activity any time, analyze it offline, and use those signals to stimulate the spinal cord or muscles. The trick is being able to figure out what the monkey is intending in real-time and then stimulating the spinal cord or muscles to create the desired movements."

It's a highly complex procedure to control all the muscles in a limb to carry out a desired motion. The researchers simplified this problem "by focusing on the target of the movement as opposed to which muscles and joints are used for the movement," Williams said.

Could this have sinister applications? The scientists involved with this experiment emphasize that the goal of this research is not for one person to control the body of another. Rather, when it comes to treating patients with spinal cord injuries, such as quadriplegics, "we envision putting a microchip into the brain to record the activity behind the intent for movement and putting another microchip in the spinal cord below the site of injury to stimulate limb movements, and then connecting the microchips," Williams said.

"This is just a proof-of-concept," Williams said. "We only had the monkeys aim for a few targets at a time - to be clinically useful, we'd have to be able to cause many different movements in space for fine motor control. Still, we think in principle that is possible."

Pope Francis calls for your 'prayer and action'...

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for July 2015
Universal:
That political responsibility may be lived at all levels as a high form of charity.
Evangelization: That, amid social inequalities, Latin American Christians may bear witness to love for the poor and contribute to a more fraternal society.



Comments


More Technology

Innovative space invention promises to reach space locations in record times Watch

Image of

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A once rejected drive can now revolutionize the entire outer space research, as NASA and several others confirmed this program actually works. The invention was previously rejected by scientists after it defied the physics concept of the conservation of momentum, ... continue reading


Is your phone in danger? Threatening malicious text message can hack Android's inner system Watch

Image of

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

With just a simple text message, your phone and all its data may be compromised without you even knowing. The core of this nightmare is at the heart of the operating system itself - Stagefright, an Android code library. Users currently have nothing much to protect ... continue reading


Pope Francis uses iPad to become first person registered for 2016's World Youth Day Watch

Image of

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

On Sunday, Pope Francis successfully became the first person registered for the 2016 edition of the World Youth Day, using an iPad. Before registering, he addressed thousands at the St. Peter's Square in an appeal for the release of an Italian Jesuit priest kidnapped ... continue reading


EARTH'S TWIN: Kepler 452b heralded as the most similar planet to Earth yet discovered Watch

Image of While Kepler-452b is larger than Earth, it's 385-day orbit is only five percent longer. Furthermore, the planet is five percent farther from its parent star Kepler-452 than Earth is from the sun.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Kepler-452b has astronomers calling the planet "the closest twin to Earth" they have yet seen. The planet is the smallest world found orbiting in the habitable zone of a star. Kepler-452b orbits its star at approximately the same distance that Earth orbits the ... continue reading


Solar system similar to ours discovered by astronomers Watch

Image of Researchers believe the ideal habitable exoplanet would reside in a solar system that mirrors ours. A

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In an new astronomical study on the search for "solar system 2.0" - a solar system that is similar to our own, and therefore more likely of sustaining life, scientists have made an exciting new discovery. Such a solar system exists, some 200 light years away, and ... continue reading


'Bee Hive' Skyscraper cities: The future for overpopulated areas Watch

Image of Bee Hive skyscraper cities are expected to put a halt to urbanization in the future.

By Linky C. (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The future of urban living is about to change with the conceptualization of "Bee Hive" skyscrapers set up to house communities in urban areas. An entire city within a single skyscraper is the futuristic solution to population density problems in the major cities of the ... continue reading


PLAYING GOD?: High-quality artificial sperm manufactured by Chinese scientists for the first time Watch

Image of They don't have tails and can't swim. The new artificial sperm - created for the first time by Chinese scientists, look more like eggs than natural sperm.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

They don't have tails and can't swim. The new artificial sperm - created for the first time by Chinese scientists, look more like eggs than natural sperm. However, they can still fertilize an egg and pass on genetic information to potential offspring. LOS ... continue reading


Candles for your Mobile Phones: Flame used to produce electricity can charge your mobile phones Watch

Image of The Candle Charger can generate electricity to charge your mobile phones.

By Linky C. (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Technology now provides a solution to untimely blackouts; mobile phones can now be charged even in the event of a power failure through the Candle Charger. With the heat produced by a candle, mobile devices can be charged and one can stay connected without ... continue reading


Smartphones getting smarter: Can your smartphone tell if you're depressed? Watch

Image of Your Smartphones can be a black box of your emotions. (Photo by: Jovo Jovanovic for Stocksy United)

By Linky C. (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Changes in technology have greatly affected the advancement of society. It has also affected how we live our lives. Technological advances have started to seclude human beings from real life experiences that they should be facing on a daily basis. Recent studies ... continue reading


They're watching your every move: What are Smart Cities? Watch

Image of Beijing [not pictured] is one of the cities believed to be eying the development of Smart Cities.

By Linky C. (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Billions of people are being confronted by different governments around the world to create "smart cities." These "smart cities" are urban areas that are covered with internet-connected devices that will, not only be a means of communication, but also control the ... continue reading


All Technology News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Leviticus 25:1, 8-17
1 Yahweh spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai and ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 67:2-3, 5, 7-8
2 Then the earth will acknowledge your ways, and all ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 14:1-12
1 At that time Herod the tetrarch heard about the ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for August 1st, 2015 Image

St. Alphonsus Marie Liguori
August 1: Bishop, Doctor of the Church, and the founder of the ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter