Mind over matter? A team of researchers have demonstrated that humans with severe brain injuries can operate machines.
Cathy Hutchinson has been unable to move her own arms or legs for 15 years. But using the most advanced brain-machine interface ever developed, she can steer a robotic arm towards a bottle, pick it up, and drink her morning coffee. The interface includes a sensor implanted in Cathy’s brain, which ‘reads’ her thoughts, and a decoder, which turns her thoughts into instructions for the robotic arm. In this video, watch Cathy control the arm and hear from the team behind the pioneering study.
A scientist quoted in the NYT had this to add: “This is the kind of work that has to be done, and it’s further confirmation of the feasibility of using this kind of approach to give paralyzed people some degree of autonomy.” The idea that games could again be part of the waking life of the those disabled is profound.
(Related, of course, is this Radiolab clip about a couple, separated by tragedy, that were able to high-five for the first time through a machine. Go to the 14:40 mark)