|Pompoulus - 2012-02-23 |
The monkey doesn't feel very strongly about this one way or the other.
|the_slurb - 2012-02-23 |
So I just posted in one of the previous videos, but it might have gotten buried. I am a first year PhD student working in this field (neural prosthetics). If you have any questions id be happy to answer
Rodents of Unusual Size
How soon do you see amputees, etc, being able to use this technology in a real life setting?
How limited are the prosthesis to the physiology of the person/species using it? Could this man manipulate an array of robo-tentacles or just prosthetic human limbs that his brain used before his paralysis.
if you watch this video back-to-back with the Real Life Iron Man Suit video, do you get an erection?
Dread Pirate Roberts
While I'm definitely no PhD student, I can answer some of these rudimentarily. (Feel free to correct me if I'm completely wrong. I'm sure there are many levels of gray in this answer)
The brain can do a multitude of things. These technologies are looking for pathways already in place in the brain from before someone lost their use of a limb. However, that said, the brain has a way of making new paths that could be used to attached new systems to it. I believe it's called something like 'tunneling' or something.
Effectively, everytime you drive a car, swing a sword, or use a game controller, you're teaching your body and brain to perform new functions. It is possible to teach the brain to use new objects or impliments, but it is much harder, I would assume. Ever heard that phrase 'let the sword become apart of your arm' in those bad hollywood samurai movies, or maybe at your logo dojo? It's the same thing. It's letting your brain create new pathways in order to perform an action.
Now, my question would be:
How feasible is it to expect some kind of feedback system in these replacement limbs? Is it possible to use stem cells to grow skin over these systems and allow natural sensation? Or would an electronic/synthetic system work just as well? Feeling the pressure of your grip, the texture of paper, etc.
I know there are millions of nerves in the fingertips, so I just wonder if it would ever be able to become close to normal, or if it would just be a 'warm sensation versus no sensation' kind of deal?
This research is really in its infancy (no more than 10 years old), so its going to be a while until it has wide spread use. The majority of the work is currently being done in primates, with a few labs in the country working with humans. I know that Professor Donoghue at Brown and this lab at Pitt are currently working in humans, but this is a very small number of patients. I am out at Caltech, and the lab here is jumping through FDA hurdles a the moment to start up some human projects.
One of the main problems with wide spread adoption is that we don't have electrode arrays that can be implanted for a long time in the brain. You get this issue where this kinda scar tissue (glia) builds up around the electrodes and you lose you signal. Also, as you can see his movements are pretty constrained, and not in a real natural setting. A lot of work is left be to done, but things are moving forward.
These robotic devices arent really limited to the physiology of the species. The problem is that your brain tends to be highly specialized for certain tasks. This lab at Pitt records from primary motor cortex, which is a low level motor area. This means they are getting real time information about the angle and postion of the arm. That wouldn't really translate well to some other object. But a number of labs work in higher coginitive areas. These labs try to decode the intended goal of an action. If you can do that, you can send the goal to a robot anything and have it figure out how to get there. You will have you robot tentacles soon enough.
With respect to when normal people will be going under this surgery, there is a lot of speculation about that. I don't see myself volunteering for it, this research is mostly geared toward helping those suffering from sever paralysis. That being said, its a relatively minor surgery, in terms of neuro surgeries, to place these electrode arrays. They sit right on top of your parietal lobe, and it doesnt involve cutting into the brain.
Terminator. Robocop is a pussy.
Mouser, I imagine this is how you are telling us you don't have a girlfriend.
So its pretty cool how plastic the brain is. As i said, there are certain areas that are highly specialize for certain tasks, but they will adapt to new input. I think thats part of the success of the field so far. The brain is kinda working with you as you are trying to decode it.
People are working on tactile feedback. The sensory motor cortex is a pretty well mapped out region of the brain. That means we can locate very specific regions of the brain which correspond to sensations of touch in very specific regions of the brain. I know they have it working in animals, don't know about humans. But yes, feedback is the absolute next step. Currently it is being done using electrical stimulation, but there is an even new field in neuroscience called optogenetics, which allows you to communicate with neurons using light pulses.
Sideways hat and neck tattoo are standard. For pr stunts like this, we need to cover up the implant area, tilting it to the side lets you know he is serious. Neck tattoos are helpful in patient identification, plus they are straight dope.
From my perspective, I don't see this as funneling into the war machine. There are much easier ways to control robotics than wiring into someone's brain. A joy stick is a substantially cheaper and better method.
There is really no reason to send a cyborg into battle, when a robot will do the same damn thing with no risk of life.
I think this is a really promising road for neuroscience. On the one hand you get to tangibly impact the life of someone suffering from paralysis, or als, or other neuromusclar disorders, which i think is a pretty satisfying goal. On the other, you are gaining some really deep insights into how the human brain functions.
|TeenerTot - 2012-02-23 |
Is there a warranty that covers any injury should my robot arm gain independent sentience?
|Hay Belly - 2012-02-23 |
Yay more suffering of animals.
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