Brain sensor allows mind-control
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of BBC News
Posted: December 5th, 2006
A sensor implanted in a paralysed man's brain has enabled him to control objects by using his thoughts alone. The experimental set-up allowed the man, who has no limb movement at all, to open e-mail ... and pinch a prosthetic hand's fingers. The US team behind the sensor hopes its technology can one day be incorporated into the body to restore the movement of paralysed limbs themselves. A team of scientists inserted the device, called a neuromotor prosthesis (NMP), into an area of the brain known as the motor cortex, which is responsible for voluntary movement. The NMP comprises an internal sensor that detects brain cell activity, and external processors that convert the activity into signals that can be recognised by a computer. Using the device, Mr Nagle was able to move a computer cursor to open an e-mail, play simple computer games, open and close a prosthetic hand, and use a robot limb to grasp and move objects. Mr Nagle said the sensor had restored some of his independence by allowing him to carry out a number of tasks - such as turning the lights on - that a nurse would normally do for him. He told the BBC: "I can't put it into words. It's just wild."