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Neuroscience: Movement decoded

J. Neurosci. 30, 9659–9669 (2010)

Brain signals in monkeys have been decoded and used to reconstruct three-dimensional arm movements, raising the possibility of future neuroprosthetic devices that people who are paralysed could use to control robotic arms for tasks such as eating.

Carlos Vargas-Irwin at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, and his colleagues monitored brain activity in two macaque monkeys by using electrodes implanted into the arm/hand area of the primary motor cortex. A motion-capture system tracked arm, wrist and hand movements as the monkeys reached to grab objects swinging towards them.

The researchers found that data on firing rate from small clusters of nearby neurons were enough to reconstruct entire reach-and-grasp motions.

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Neuroscience: Movement decoded. Nature 466, 534–535 (2010).

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