Monkeys Took a Brain-Controlled Wheelchair Out for a Spin

"Monkeys Took a Brain-Controlled Wheelchair Out for a Spin "

Duke University was able to devise an apparatus that can translate complex cortical information information into movement.

BEACON TRANSCRIPT – On the subject of unusual, yet bold experiments, we are pleased to regale you with the tale of two apes which managed to move around in a wheelchair using only their brain power. The monkeys took a brain-controlled wheelchair out for a spin, and the results are purely fantastic.

Forget about caped villains who want to dominate the planet using mind-controlling devices, because they have nothing on the apes who managed to pull off the feat.

According to a new paper published in Nature’s Scientific Reports, a team of researchers from the Duke University were successful in devising a fully-functional brain-machine interface. The experiment proved that a machine might be capable of translating complex brain signals into digital information which can be interpreted by a computer.

To pull this off, the scientists working on the project needed to make a few preparation. The first step was to select the lucky contestants: two rhesus monkeys. Before the experiment began, the team subjected the two monkey to brain surgery.

During this intervention, the two monkeys were outfitted with microelectrode arrays. As explained by the group, these devices were used to control limb movement and to plot the course of the instrument. Of course, these two implants were also tasked with translating the complex cortical response to digital signals which can be picked up and analyzed by a computer.

After the first part of the experiment was over, the scientists decided to take the monkeys out for a spin. Literally! With the monkeys recovering from brain surgery, the scientists seized the opportunity to take them out for a brief tour of the control room. Of course, the monkeys were still strapped into the wheelchairs.

The researchers explained that this part of the step was as important as the implantation part because that was when the brain of the monkey started to record the topography of the room, and how to reach certain points of interests. All this time, the brain activity of the two apes has been registered by a computer.

After a while, the researcher left the two monkeys alone still strapped to the wheelchair. This time, they’ve placed a bowl of fruits in the middle of the room and left the animals alone. Of course, the ape’s instinct was to get to the fruit bowl but was unable to do so because of the restraints. Instead, by thinking out the action of moving, the sensors mounted on their heads would pick up the sensorial data attributed to limb movement and transform it into a digital signal which could be interpreted by a computer.

The computer briefly analyzed the speed and course info and moved the wheelchair. Of course, we shouldn’t think that the apes began to race against each other on the hallways of the Duke University using the newly-devised brain-controlled wheelchairs. The patterns were erratic, sometimes sloppy and at times fluidic.

In conclusion, the two monkey who took a brain-controlled wheelchair out for a spin managed to prove that this technology is possible, and it can have any manner of applications.

Photo credits:pixabay