The day may soon come that you can replace a severed limb with a cybernetic one, and you'll have Yukiyasu Kamitani to thank. Kamitani, a researcher at the ATR Computational Neuroscience Laboratories in Kyoto, has just developed a robot hand that's controlled by human thoughts. The person controlling the hand doesn't even have to attach any invasive electrodes to his brain, as with the brain interface we reported on a couple of months ago. Instead, an MRI scanner probes brain activity, and when the person being scanned makes hand movements, the brain scan is fed to a computer, which then moves the robotic limb. Initial experiments saw the robohand mimic simple movements like playing rock, paper, scissors, though as the computer becomes more familiar with the areas of the brain being scanned, its capabilities increase — so you may want to prepare yourself for some cyborg arm wrestling a few decades from now.
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