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Moving a limb by the power of thought alone

From Nature,

The power of thought alone is not enough to move inanimate objects — unless the object is a robotic leg wired to your brain, that is.

A 32-year-old man whose knee and lower leg were amputated in 2009 after a motorcycle accident is apparently the first person with a missing lower limb to control a robotic leg with his mind. A team led by biomedical engineer Levi Hargrove at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago in Illinois reported the breakthrough last week in the New England Journal of Medicine1, including a video that shows the man using the bionic leg to walk up stairs and down a ramp, and to kick a football.

Nature is, of course, careful to write up the story so as to avoid any implications of this fact.

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9 Responses to Moving a limb by the power of thought alone

  1. 1
    Kantian Naturalist

    The article is careful to avoid mentioning that the man is able to control his brain using only his mind.

  2. As a retired physician, my comment is the patient still has a brain with a motor strip active. The nerves still exists is the amputated leg. Those nerves will respond to the patient’s wishes, and they were enhanced by the folks building the responsive robot leg. What is the issue? I don’t know the cause of consciousness any more that Nature does, and the story explains nothing about that issue, because it can’t.

  3. In neurofeedback setups, kids can control a computer by the power of thought alone.

    In fact there is even a commercially available toy – you wear an electrode on your head, and by concentrating hard, you can make a ball rise in a tube (the fan strength is regulated by the amount of high frequency power in your eeg).

    This really isn’t news, news.

  4. But the robotic leg part is, of course, awesome. There are huge possibilities now for control of robotic appliances by eeg.

  5. but it’s not news

  6. It’s not news that people can move inanimate objects by the power of thought alone, no.

  7. The power of thought alone.

  8. 8
    Kantian Naturalist

    Leave the power of thought alone!

  9. That’s the problem. Some people have left the power of thought alone.

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