~e; the mental cursor

From bc <human@electronetwork.org>
Date Thu, 14 Mar 2002 12:07:52 -0600

  [was going to send this yesterday, always a deliberation, as the news
  maybe plastered in every paper, or else hidden in the back, and so some
  may not see it otherwise. wish to get a database going eventually to begin
  archiving these advances. yet, the context is which words are difficult to
  convey exactly what is supremely signficant about this. and this is also a
  debatable issue: from one perspective the following use of the mind's EM
  senses to move a piece of material hardware, that old mind-body thing
  that people to this day believe has been debunking thoroughly in sectors
  large and small, except those working in it- is that energy and matter,
  and information too, are mixed in a type of fuzzy equation similar in
  gravity to Einstein's work, and equally invisible until seeing the sub-
  atomic movements. someday it is hoped that discussions can be had with
  physicists and engineers, to learn step by step the process that stands
  between the brain's 'thinking about moving' the cursor and the computer
  'cursor moving by thought', all an electromagnetic event, something fluid.
  the odd thing about flows, at least for electricity though, is that it is not
  unidirectional as a force. it enters and exits the same way, so it seems.
  implants, whether ID cards or medical devices, will be using techniques
  to bring the body closer to the realm of information gathering/harnessing.
  for better and worse, this cybernetic marriage. to understand its basic
  foundation and to foresee its consequences and opportunities could help...]

Monkey Moves Cursor by Thinking


By Alex Dominguez
Associated Press Writer
Wednesday, March 13, 2002; 2:00 PM

A monkey with a fingernail-size brain implant moved a cursor on a
computer screen just by thinking - the latest in a series of
experiments that have raised hopes that paralyzed people might one
day be able to control complex devices with their minds.

While humans have already been implanted with a similar device that
allows control of a cursor, the set of thin wires used by the Brown
University researchers is less bulky and worked by measuring fewer

Three rhesus monkeys were given the implants, which were first used
to record signals from their motor cortex - an area of the brain that
controls movement - as they manipulated a joystick with their hands.
Then those signals were used to develop a program that enabled one of
the monkeys to continue moving the cursor with its brain.

During dozens of trials over several months, the monkey moved the
cursor just by thinking and used it to touch dots that appeared on
the screen, earning orange juice as a reward, said John Donoghue,
chairman of neuroscience at Brown.

The results are promising enough that the device could one day be
used on humans, the researchers reported in Thursday's issue of the
journal Nature. They would not speculate on how long that might take.

Anything that can be controlled with two- or three-dimensional
coordinates can be controlled by similar implants, Donoghue said.

"Anything you can imagine can be engineered. What can you do with
point-and-click navigation on the Internet?" he said.

In 1998, researchers at Emory University in Atlanta reported that a
paralyzed man was able to control a cursor with a cone-shaped, glass
implant, using it to operate a voice synthesizer that allowed him to

The key advance in the Brown study is that the researchers were able
to use fewer neurons - between seven and 30 - to control the cursor,
said Sandro Mussa-Ivaldi, a Northwestern University professor and
staff member of the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago.

Mussa-Ivaldi said the glass cone implant is bulkier, but its
advantage is that brain cells grow around the glass, holding it in

In November, Duke University researchers reported they had wired the
brains of monkeys to control robotic arms. When the monkeys reached
for food or manipulated a joystick, the robotic arms mimicked those

Duke researcher Miguel Nicolelis, who was involved in the robotic arm
research, said similar work has also been done with rodents.

As for transferring the implant technology to humans, "I always
estimate these transfers as somewhere between five and 10 years, but
it's very encouraging," Nicolelis said. "It now shows in rodents and
in monkeys that this is feasible. It gets us very much on the track
to potential applications in humans."

 2002 The Associated Press

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