Speaker Miguel Nicolelis discusses the possibility of moving robotic limbs using only the mind in this brain power keynote. Nicolelis explains that within every “brain storm” there are signals being sent to the body that allow people to move. He then goes on to discuss technology that would allow for an individual to send commands to a robotic limb using the brain, resulting in movement.
Nicolelis tells his audience of an experiment that was conducted using a monkey. This monkey played video games using a joystick and received a treat for doing so. When the monkey had become quite familiar with how to play the game, scientists set up a prosthetic arm by the joystick. Using this new technology, the monkey’s brain sent commands to the arm, allowing the monkey to play the video game without ever actually moving.
It’s Nicolelis’s hope that this kind of technology will eventually be used to help quadriplegic or partially paralyzed individuals move again.