A mind controlled exoskeleton is being developed for the paralyzed.
It’s not something out of a comic book any more, as highly ambitious scientists already have the prototype of a monkey-sized exoskeleton.
On The Daily Show in 2011, Neuroscientist Miguel Nicolelis told Jon Stewart that he would develop a robotic body suit for paralyzed people, enabling them to walk again using mind control. He gave a time frame of three or four years.
Some called him crazy, but here it is, maybe two years later, and Miguel Nicolelis already has a prototype. He’s planning to show it off to the world at the football event (or in America, soccer) the World Cup.
The tournament will be held in Miguel Nicolelis’ home country of Brazil, where he plans to have the event start off with a special kick. The kick will be made by a paralyzed child walking about 20 steps onto the field using the exoskeleton Nicolelis has created.
According to Wired, Krishna Shenoy, who studies brain-machine interfaces at Stanford, has commented on Miguel Nicolelis and his supposed recklessness:
“Nicolelis may enjoy being provocative, and certainly that could strike many people as not being as cautious as one could be. I think he may tend to over-promise as a way to motivate himself and his crew.”
According to ABC News, mind controlled machines aren’t exactly new to science, as in December, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh ran a study on something similar in The Lancet. The study involved a 53-year-old woman named Jan Scheuermann who, due to a genetic condition, was paralyzed from the neck down. Scheuermann controlled a nearby robotic arm using a surgically implanted grid of electrodes in her brain.
The robotic arm that Jan Scheuermann mind controlled was captured on video for 60 Minutes, displaying the same range of motion a normal human hand is capable of, and was heavily funded by Darpa.
Imagine seeing Professor Stephen Hawking walk out on stage for the first time in decades.
What do you think about the mind controlled exoskeleton being developed for the paralyzed?
— Noah Gray (@noahWG) February 27, 2013