A new report by The Philadelphia Inquirer cited a recent 14-month experiment that used electrodes implanted within the brain of a paralyzed man along with a system called BrainGate, during which he was able to interact with a computer and play video games by using only his thoughts.
The report noted that the patient, whose spinal cord was damaged three years prior to the experiment, was wired to a computer, and was able to open and close a prosthetic hand and even play a game of Pong
. By mentally sending electronic impulses to the computer, the system, which was developed by scientists at Brown University, was able to interpret the signals and manipulate perform the functions that were being imagined by the patient.
The results, which were noted in Thursday's issue of the journal Nature, could offer a ray of hope to individuals currently suffering from spinal cord injuries. The report noted that the developers hope that someday patients will be able to have a wireless device implanted in their brain which could send signals not to a computer, but rather to their appendages, thus affording them renewed control over their bodies.
However, the research found that the results thus far were not perfect, as the system lacks the same level of sensitivity that is found in a healthy central nervous system. However, the report cited John Donoghue, chief scientific officer of Cyberkinetics Neurotechnology Systems Inc., the company that makes the BrainGate system that interprets the impulses from the brain, who noted that while he knows there is more work to be done, the technology is getting better.
You can read the full report here
, which included added information concerning the new research study.