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People with tetraplegia able to grasp with robotic arm

John Donoghue and colleagues have previously demonstrated that people with tetraplegia can learn to use neural signals from the motor cortex to control a computer cursor. Work from another lab has also shown that monkeys can learn to use such signals to feed themselves with a robotic arm. Now, Donoghue and colleagues have advanced the technology to a level at which two people with long-standing paralysis — a 58-year-old woman and a 66-year-old man — are able to use a neural interface to direct a robotic arm to reach for and grasp objects. One subject was able to learn to pick up and drink from a bottle using a device implanted 5 years earlier, demonstrating not only that subjects can use the brain–machine interface, but also that it has potential longevity.

Nature 485, 7398 table of contents

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