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Robotic arm precisely controlled by thought

May 25, 2015 | Telepresence Options


Story and images by Kurzweilai

New neuroprosthetic implant captures intent to move, not the movement directly

Paralyzed from the neck down, Erik G. Sorto now can smoothly move a robotic arm just by thinking about it, thanks to a clinical collaboration between Caltech, Keck Medicine of USC and Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center,

Previous neural prosthetic devices, such as Braingate, were implanted in the motor cortex, resulting in delayed, jerky movements. The new device was implanted in the posterior parietal cortex (PPC), a part of the brain that controls the intent to move, not the movement directly.

That makes Sorto, who has been paralyzed for over 10 years, the first quadriplegic person in the world to perform a fluid hand-shaking gesture or play "rock, paper, scissors," using a robotic arm.

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