LONDON, Nov 15 - Brain signals from a monkey in a laboratory in North
have been used to control the movement of a robot arm over the Internet at a university 600
miles away, American scientists said on Wednesday.
the experiment could form the
basis of brain-interface machines that could
allow paralysed patients to move prosthetic limbs.
``It was an amazing
sight to see the robot in my lab move, knowing that it
was being driven by signals from a monkey brain at Duke,'' Mandayam
Srinivasan, of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said in a
``It was as if the monkey had a 600-mile-long virtual arm.''
MIT and Duke University in Durham, North Carolina,
implanted electrodes in the monkey's brain and recorded the brain
activity as the animal learned tasks and moved its limbs.
In a study in
the science journal Nature, they described how they fed the
information into a computer and used mathematical methods to predict
hand trajectories in real-time as the monkeys learned to make different
types of hand movements.
After the scientists
were convinced the computer analysis could predict
hand trajectory from brain signal patterns, they used the brain signals
from the monkey as processed by the computer to allow the animal to
control a robot arm.
``When we initially
conceived the idea of using monkey brain signals to
control a distant robot across the Internet, we were not sure how
variable delays in signal transmission would affect the outcome...it
worked out beautifully,'' said Srinivasan.
a professor of neurobiology at Duke, said the system
offered hope of restoring some motor function for paralysed patients.