A new algorithm that allows monkeys to move a computer cursor in real time just by thinking about it raises hope that paralysed humans could one day control robotic limbs in a similar way. Until now the application of such devices has needed extensive training or been confined to a limited movement repertoire.
The new system, which is suitable for human use, is described in this week's Nature (Vol. 416, No. 6877, 14 Mar 2002). It decodes activity from just a few neurons in the monkey's motor cortex. The animal's resulting hands-free cursor control was almost as fast and accurate in pursuing a target as when they used their hands.
Mijail D. Serruya and colleagues of Brown University, Rhode Island, explain their methods and results in a Brief Communication.
Mijail D. Serruya
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