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  1.  (7357.1)
    The implanted electrodes were in place for a month and apparently provided sensory feedback as well as guiding the hand.

    A group of European scientists said Wednesday they have successfully connected a robotic hand to an amputee, allowing him to feel sensations in the artificial limb and control it with his thoughts.

    The experiment lasted a month, and scientists say it was the first time a patient has been able to make complex movements using his mind to control a biomechanic hand connected to his nervous system.

    The Italian-led team said at a news conference Wednesday in Rome that last year it implanted electrodes into the arm of the patient who had lost his left hand and forearm in a car accident.

    The prosthetic was not implanted on the patient, only connected through the electrodes. During the news conference, video was shown of 26-year-old Pierpaolo Petruzziello as he concentrated to give orders to the hand placed next to him.

  2.  (7357.2)
    In the future teenage boys won’t have to sit on their arms to numb them for a really good wank.
  3.  (7357.3)
    So...conceivably...nothing stops anyone from having super-strong, remote-controlled robot hands with cameras in the fingers now?
    • CommentAuthorKosmopolit
    • CommentTimeDec 4th 2009 edited
    Nope, and conceivably nothing stops you recording the feedback and playing it back later - or sending a copy to someone else.

    Or recording the impulses sent to the prosthesis and building up a library for use by a computer controlling a robot.

    I really wish that article gave more details about how the feedback is achieved.
  4.  (7357.5)
    Wanking was the first thing I thought of when I read the thread title, too.
  5.  (7357.6)
    Well yeah but for some of us, wanking is the first thing we think of in any given circumstance.
  6.  (7357.7)
    Excellent. Then I can record a painting and have a robot make 1000 "original" copies.

    That or StrangleBots will be the new rage.
  7.  (7357.8)
    On a related note:

    Scientists are measuring how EEG readings correlate with specific neurons firing - this could lead to a noninvasive brain-computer interface without the need to implant electrodes.
  8.  (7357.9)
    "Some of the gestures cannot be disclosed because they were quite vulgar,"


    So I wonder if we can attach limbs we're not lacking, or if our brains are programmed to only controlled two arms, two legs, etc.
    Could I have extra arms? Is there a spot in my brain for that? Or would the mad scientists plug the "extra" limb into the same brain-spot my current limbs are, and thus the robot arms would then mimic my real arms?

    @ Kosmopolit
    In the future, people will be trading the memory print of a really great lay just as easily as they trade MP3s.
  9.  (7357.10)
    So...conceivably...nothing stops anyone from having super-strong, remote-controlled robot hands with cameras in the fingers now?

    Just think about what the Mapplethorpes of the twenty-first century will be doing with those!
  10.  (7357.11)
    But you just know the first big commercial application is going to be internet waldo hands that let you fondle your webcam cybersex buddy . . . .
    • CommentTimeDec 7th 2009
    I would exploit the hell out of the masturbation factor for testing purposes. You don't even need amputees to test this, right?

    Volunteers would get strapped down, wired up, and shown loops Clockwork Orange style until they make the damn thing work.
    I predict that even a large portion of the control group would achieve success.
    • CommentAuthorKosmopolit
    • CommentTimeDec 22nd 2009 edited
    By implanting an electrode into the brain of a person with locked-in syndrome, scientists have demonstrated how to wirelessly transmit neural signals to a speech synthesizer. The "thought-to-speech" process takes about 50 milliseconds - the same amount of time for a non-paralyzed, neurologically intact person to speak their thoughts. The study marks the first successful demonstration of a permanently installed, wireless implant for real-time control of an external device.


    Five years ago, when the volunteer was 21 years old, the scientists implanted an electrode near the boundary between the speech-related premotor and primary motor cortex (specifically, the left ventral premotor cortex). Neurites began growing into the electrode and, in three or four months, the neurites produced signaling patterns on the electrode wires that have been maintained indefinitely.

    Three years after implantation, the researchers began testing the brain-machine interface for real-time synthetic speech production. The system is “telemetric” - it requires no wires or connectors passing through the skin, eliminating the risk of infection. Instead, the electrode amplifies and converts neural signals into frequency modulated (FM) radio signals. These signals are wirelessly transmitted across the scalp to two coils, which are attached to the volunteer’s head using a water-soluble paste. The coils act as receiving antenna for the RF signals. The implanted electrode is powered by an induction power supply via a power coil, which is also attached to the head.


    During 25 sessions over a five-month period, the volunteer significantly improved the thought-to-speech accuracy. His average hit rate increased from 45% to 70% across sessions, reaching a high of 89% in the last session.

    Although the current study focused only on producing a small set of vowels, the researchers think that consonant sounds could be achieved with improvements to the system. While this study used a single three-wire electrode, the use of additional electrodes at multiple recording sites, as well as improved decoding techniques, could lead to rapid, accurate control of a speech synthesizer that could generate a wide range of sounds.

    I'm trying to work out the more interesting implications of this: the ability to restore speech to people who've suffered strokes or who have been misdiagnosed as catatonic/minimally conscious or the fact they've worked otu how to make the implant permanent.

    THe hand-control implant that started this thread had to be removed after a month, this one is apparently intended to last yars.