Skip to content

MIND CONTROL: Brain implant allows one monkey to control the other

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
2/19/2014 (3 years 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 (3 years 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'...

---


'Help give every student and teacher Free resources for a world-class moral Catholic education'


Copyright 2017 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for JUNE 2017
National Leaders.
That national leaders may firmly commit themselves to ending the arms trade, which victimizes so many innocent people.


Comments


More Technology

Astronomers close in on Planet X that could be responsible for cataclysms on Earth Watch

Image of Is Planet X out there? And it is responsible for sending waves of Earth-smashing asteroids towards the Sun? Maybe.

NASA thinks there may be another planet far beyond Neptune, and it could pose a threat to life on Earth. Long known as Planet X, it has ... continue reading


What if an asteroid strikes near you? Here's what happens... Watch

Image of Asteroids are a major threat to life on Earth, and it is only a matter of time before the next cataclysmic impact.

If there's one thing scientists agree on, it's that there is a cosmic alarm clock ticking somewhere, and when it goes off, billions of ... continue reading


The BIG ONE is coming, but you may get a warning right before it hits. Here's how Watch

Image of Los Angeles will face the greatest damage during a 7.2 or larger quake along the San Andreas fault, north of the city. An early warning system is essential to saving thousands of lives.

After years of planning and testing, California is about to get an early warning system for earthquakes. The system will be rolled out in ... continue reading


The world's largest plane is unveiled, but is it too dangerous to fly? Watch

Image of The Stratolaunch is now the world's largest airplane by wingspan.

An amazing aircraft has rolled out of its hanger in Mojave, California, but will this massive, revolutionary new design fly, and can it ... continue reading


Pack your shades, Major Tom, NASA is sending you to the Sun! Watch

Image of Pack your shades, Major Tom! We're going to touch the Sun.

Pack your shades, Major Tom, NASA is sending you to the Sun. Don't forget the sunscreen. In an announcement today, NASA has reported they ... continue reading


Never Miss any Updates!

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

Catholic Online Logo

Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.