Monkey See, Monkey Virtually Feel
Brain-to-machine interface technologies have been investigated for years as a way to give paralyzed and locked-in persons the abilities they’ve lost. Never before has the connection been bidirectional though, giving the subject information, such as tactile sensations. Duke University Medical Center attached the monkeys to a computer to control virtual arms and hands with their brains while electrical pulses gave information back to the brain on what the virtual palm was feeling. This gave the monkeys a sense of touch able to distinguish between different surfaces, which were identical on the display the machines watched. The hope is to potentially make an exoskeleton for paralyzed persons to control with their brain and regain the ability to explore the world.