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News Link • Robots and Artificial Intelligence

Paralyzed individuals control robotic arms to reach and grasp using brain computer interface

•, by Brown University
 On April 12, 2011, nearly fifteen years after she became paralyzed and unable to speak, a woman controlled a robotic arm by thinking about moving her arm and hand to lift a bottle of coffee to her mouth and take a drink. That achievement is one of the advances in brain-computer interfaces restorative neurotechnology and assistive robot technology described in the May 17 edition of the journal Nature by the BrainGate2 collaboration of researchers at the Department of Veterans Affairs, Brown University, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School., and the German Aerospace Center (DLR).

A 58-year-old woman, "S3," and a 66-year-old man, "T2," participated in the study. They had each been paralyzed by a brainstem stroke years earlier which left them with no functional control of their limbs. In the research, the participants used neural activity to directly control two different robotic arms, one developed by the DLR Institute of Robotics and Mechatronics and the other by DEKA Research and Development Corp., to perform reaching and grasping tasks across a broad three-dimensional space.

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