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Brain–machine interfaces to restore motor function and probe neural circuits


Recent studies have shown that it is possible to create functional, bidirectional, real-time interfaces between living brain tissue and artificial devices. It is reasonable to predict that further research on brain–machine interfaces will lead to the development of a new generation of neuroprosthetic devices aimed at restoring motor functions in severely paralysed patients. In addition, I propose that such interfaces can become the core of a new experimental approach with which to investigate the operation of neural systems in behaving animals.

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Figure 1: Schematic representation of a cortical neuroprosthetic device.
Figure 2: Experimental design used to test a closed-loop control brain–machine interface for motor control in macaque monkeys.
Figure 3: Distributed neural coding in colour vision.


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I thank S. Simon for his comments on the manuscript and G. Licholai for his help with statistical data on spinal cord injuries.

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Nicolelis, M. Brain–machine interfaces to restore motor function and probe neural circuits. Nat Rev Neurosci 4, 417–422 (2003).

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