Neuroscientists have developed a number of advanced “brain-machine” interfaces.
According to Psych Central, such interfaces can be tapped to allow the control of computer cursors via brain waves, help stroke patients regain cognitive motor skills and facilitate the restoration of sight after severe retinal damage.
Indeed, in one research project led by UPenn’s Dr. Anna Rose Childress, participants learned to independently move a screen cursor in just six minutes.
Another experimental procedure devised by Dr. Satoko Koganemaru of Kyoto University combined brain stimulation and physical therapy to accelerate recovery of hand control in stroke patients.
“We found the patient could move the wrist and hand in a wider range,” said Koganemaru.
“Through practice and brain stimulation, the brain adapts, making for better control of the muscle.”
Meanwhile, Dr. Sheila Nirenberg of Cornell developed an artificial retina which remains light years ahead of current retinal prosthetic devices.
“Nothing close to normal vision has [thus far] been possible,” she explained.
“[But] we [managed to] develop a retinal prosthetic that incorporates the retina’s neural code.”