A paralyzed Erik Sorto has had his first beer over twelve years due to a mind-controlled robotic arm.
Eric, thus, demonstrated the ability to control the precise activity of single neurons in his brain with specific thoughts. That is something that until now has been completely unheard of, at least in the human realm.
Two microarrays were implanted into the motor areas of Eric's brain. The algorithms used to control the robotic arm based on the signals extracted by Erik's implant were developed in Richard Anderson's lab at Caltech. Anderson has been studying these more posterior areas in monkeys for decades. He has shown not only that spikes in posterior parietal cortex (PPC) neurons directly encode high-level features of many kinds of stimuli, but also encode plans for movement, and probably even more abstract cogitations like intents and goals.
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