According to US study, unrivalled control of a robotic arm has been achieved using a paralysed woman's thoughts. Jan, who is 53 and paralyzed from the neck down, was able to deftly pick up, move and place a range of objects in a manner similar to a normal arm. Brain implants were used to manage the robotic arm and Jan was diagnosed with spinocerebellar degeneration 13 years ago and progressively lost control of her body. She is now incapable to move her arms.
The pulses of electricity in the brain are then translated into commands to move the arm, which bends at the elbow, wrist and could grab an object. Jan was able to control the arm after the second day of training and over a period of 14 weeks became increasing skilful. A hundred tiny needles on every sensor pick up the electrical activity from about 200 individual brain cells. Researchers are now trying to mount the arm on Jan's wheelchair so she will be able to use it in her everyday life.