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Ashley Yeager
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Monkeys control two arms in virtual reality

After recording and decoding the activity of sets of almost 500 brain cells in two monkeys, researchers developed a brain-computer interface that allowed the animals to move both arms of a virtual avatar.

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When connected to a computer, a monkey’s brain can move two virtual arms at the same time, a new study finds.

Connecting the human brain to a computer has the potential to help paralyzed and immobilized individuals to control external devices, such as a robotic arm. Brain-computer interfaces have provided control of a single prosthetic arm but never two arms at the same time.

By recording and decoding the activity of sets of almost 500 brain cells in two monkeys, researchers were able to develop a brain-computer interface that could control two arms simultaneously.

Each monkey learned to use only its brain to move two virtual avatar arms within 15 days of training, the team reports November 6 in Science Translational Medicine.

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