Paralyzed woman grips, sips coffee with robot arm

Human brain-computer interface enables useful movement

By Rachel Ehrenberg, 12:58 PM May 16, 2012

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Directing a robotic arm with her thoughts, a paralyzed woman named Cathy can pick up a bottle of coffee and sip it through a straw, a simple task that she hasn’t done on her own for nearly 15 years. The technology that brought about the feat is a brain-computer interface system: A computer decodes signals from a tiny chip implanted in the woman’s brain, translating her thoughts into actions that are carried out by the robot arm.

The seemingly mundane task of bringing a drink to o...

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