Brain-Computer Interfaces

1221 Words 5 Pages
Until recently, our relationship with technology has been limited to physical and direct command. To get a device to take action, you must touch it, or speak to it. All of this could change with this new technology called, brain-computer interfaces. This amazing technology will not only revamp military applications, but most importantly help the medical community substantially. It brings the possibility of sound to the deaf, sight to the blind and movement to the physically challenged. However, with all great ideas there is a downside, there are many technical and ethical issues that people are not willing to risk. A brain-computer interface, also known as a BCI, is technology that allows a device to respond neural signals …show more content…
With the help of Dr. Leigh Hochberg of Massachusetts General Hospital, Huthinson was able to manipulate a robotic arm to serve herself coffee (Castillo 1). This may sound like a simple task for a normally functional person, but for someone who has been paralyzed for fifteen years this is ground breaking. There have even been new studies of prosthetic limbs that have feeling. This would be perfect for someone who's limb may be absent, in their situation. The University of Chicago has been doing research on robotic limbs that can feel. They did experiments on monkeys since their sense of touch is so similar to humans.
The first set of experiments focused on contact location, or sensing where the skin has been touched. The animals were trained to identify several patterns of physical contact with their fingers. Researchers then connected electrodes to areas of the brain corresponding to each finger and replaced physical touches with electrical stimuli delivered to the appropriate areas of the brain. The result: The animals responded the same way to artificial stimulation as they did to physical 275 contact. Next the researchers focused on the sensation of pressure. In this case, they developed an algorithm to generate the appropriate amount of electrical current to elicit a sensation of pressure. Again, the
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