July 23, 2009

Thought-Control of Machines

IEEE Spectrum reports on a new advancement in Brain-Machine Interfaces. [Read the news article].

Dr. Carmena's research team at UC Berkeley have decoded the monkey's brain activity to directly control a cursor on the screen. The new decoder paradigm seems to be independent of the brain activity with which the monkey limbs are controlled and has no relationship to actual movements of the monkey’s arm.

Image courtesy of Public Library of Science Biology and IEEE Spectrum.

Previous research results by Dr. Schwartz' research team at the University of Pittsburgh demonstrated that the monkey's brain activity in a reaching task, when monkey's arms are tied up and not seen by the monkey, can be decoded and fed to a controller to control a robotic hand for the reaching task.

The new study shows improvements on decoder design and suggests that a machine can be fully thought-controlled.

Ganguly K. and Carmena J.M. (2009) Emergence of a stable cortical map for neuroprosthetic control. Public Library of Science Biology (in press).