Watch a Paralyzed Woman Move a Robot With Her Mind

Future Tense
The Citizen's Guide to the Future
May 16 2012 3:52 PM

Watch a Paralyzed Woman Move a Robot With Her Mind

For the first time in almost 15 years, Cathy Hutchinson, a 58-year-old woman left quadriplegic after a stroke, was able to reach for and take a sip of coffee without any human help, using only her mind to control a robotic arm.

A report published today in Nature called "Reach and Grasp by People With Tetraplegia Using a Neurally Controlled Robotic Arm" describes the  results from ongoing clinical trials involving BrainGate, a neural interface system. As part of the trial, Hutchinson and a 66-year-old man also maneuvered a robotic arm to reach for and grasp small foam balls.

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The video below, provided by Nature, shows Hutchinson using the robotic arm to retrieve her coffee. On the first day, she was successful getting the coffee four out of six tries.


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Torie Bosch is the editor of Future Tense, a project of Slate, the New America Foundation, and Arizona State that looks at the implications of new technologies.