May 29 (Bloomberg) -- "Monkeys with tiny sensors wired to their brains learned to reach, grip and eat using a robotic arm, an advance that foreshadows bionic limbs that could restore motion for people with disabilities, researchers said.
In the experiment, two macaque monkeys were given prosthetic arms, complete with shoulders, elbows and finger-like grippers. The arms were linked to electrodes that transmitted signals from areas of the brain that control movement. Nerve signals powered the arms to grab marshmallows and fruit, which the primates popped into their mouths ``all in one natural-looking motion,'' said the article, reported online yesterday in the journal Nature.
The study documents the first successful use of a ``brain- machine interface'' to control a robotic limb for a practical function, said the authors. Before now, such experiments involved controlling a cursor on a computer screen, according to the researchers from the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University."
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