【意念控制机械臂:瘫痪者13年来首次“举起”啤酒】

【意念控制机械臂:瘫痪者13年来首次“举起”啤酒】Eric是一名四肢瘫痪者,但现在,他获得了更多的“行动”自由。医生们在他大脑后顶叶皮层植入微型芯片,芯片“解读”他的想法来移动独立的机械臂,在一段时间的控制训练后,Eric现在靠自己就能喝到美味的啤酒啦~
• Doctors in California implanted tiny chips into the brain of Erik Sorto
• The chips decoded his thoughts to move the free-standing robotic arm
• Chips implanted in the 'posterior parietal cortex' which plans movements
• The hope is that this strategy will lead to smoother, more natural motions28F2E4FE00000578-3091608-image-a-46_1432233527570

When Erik Sorto was shot in the back 13 years ago, he was left instantly paralysed from the neck down.
But now, in a remarkable breakthrough, the father of two has been able to drink a beer independently for the first time in more than a decade.
The 34-year-old recently brought a bottle of the drink to his lips using a remarkable robotic arm controlled with the power of his thoughts.
The beer tasted 'like a little piece of heaven,' Sorto said.
It's the latest attempt at creating mind-controlled prosthetics to help disabled people gain more independence.
In the last decade, several people outfitted with brain implants have used their minds to control a computer cursor or steer prosthetic limbs.
Previous research targeted a region of the brain known as the motor cortex, which controls movement.
The new work zeroed in on a different area of the brain — the posterior parietal cortex — that's involved in the planning of movements.
The hope is that this strategy will lead to smoother motions.
It's unclear whether the new approach is better because no side-by-side comparisons have been made yet, but it gives researchers a potential new target in the brain.
'When you move your arm, you really don't think about which muscles to activate and the details of the movement,' Richard Andersen says Professor of Neuroscience at Caltech said.
'So in this trial, we were successfully able to decode these actual intents, by asking the subject to simply imagine the movement as a whole, rather than breaking it down into a myriad components.'
For instance, to drink his beer, Sorto imagined whirling his arms like a windmill.
That mental image triggered activity in several selected brain cells that in turn caused the robotic arm to move.
'The PPC is earlier in the pathway, so signals there are more related to movement planning - what you actually intend to do - rather than the details of the movement execution,' he says.
'We hoped that the signals from the PPC would be easier for the patients to use, ultimately making the movement process more intuitive.'
In the clinical trial, the surgeons implanted a pair of small electrode arrays in two parts of the PPC of Sorto.2

Researchers asked Sorto to think about what he wanted to do instead of breaking down the steps of the movements.
After weeks of imagining movements, Sorto trained with Caltech scientists and therapists at Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center to move the robotic arm.

In the clinical trial, the surgeons implanted a pair of small electrode arrays in two parts of the PPC of Eric Sorto (pictured)
He started with a handshake and graduating to more complicated tasks. The sensors relayed their signals to the arm, bypassing Sorto’s damaged spinal cord.
'I was surprised at how easy it was,' said Sorto. 'I remember just having this out-of-body experience, and I wanted to just run around and high-five everybody.'
This better understanding of the PPC will help the researchers improve neuroprosthetic devices of the future, Andersen says.
Although tasks like shaking hands and playing 'rock, paper, scissors' are important to demonstrate the capability of these devices, the hope is that neuroprosthetics will eventually enable patients to perform more practical tasks that will allow them to regain some of their independence.
But despite progress in the last decade, hurdles remain before brain-controlled prosthetics can help paralysed people in their daily lives.
Experts said computer programs must run faster to interpret brain signals and the brain implants must be more durable.
Currently, wire connections run from a patient’s brain to outside the skull, increasing the risk of infections.
'I joke around with the guys that I want to be able to drink my own beer - to be able to take a drink at my own pace, when I want to take a sip out of my beer and to not have to ask somebody to give it to me,' said Sorto.
'I really miss that independence. I think that if it was safe enough, I would really enjoy grooming myself - shaving, brushing my own teeth. That would be fantastic .'

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Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3091608/Quadriplegic-picks-beer-time-13-years-using-robot-arm-controlled-THOUGHTS.html#ixzz3ao9L7oYV
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