In a frightening trend, monkeys are learning to directly control robots with their minds. Seriously though, this is one of the coolest things I've ever read.
Monkeys with brain implants were trained to move a robot arm with their thoughts, a key advance by researchers who hope one day to allow paralyzed people to perform similar tasks.Thus, it is a virtual certainty that I personally will someday control some sort of robot [army] with my thoughts alone.
A series of electrodes containing tiny wires were implanted about a millimeter deep into the brains of two monkeys. A computer then recorded signals produced by the monkeys' brains as they manipulated a joystick controlling the robotic arm in exchange for a reward -- sips of juice.
The joystick was later unplugged and the arm, which was in a separate room, was controlled directly by the brain signals coming from the implants. The monkeys eventually stopped using the joystick, as if they knew their brains were controlling the robot arm, Duke University researcher Miguel Nicolelis said. ...
"It really opens the possibilities, and it reduces the amount of time. Previously, I had thought it might be five to 10 years before we could apply this to humans. I'm getting more optimistic now, I think in a couple of years we may be doing the real clinical trials."
The implants remained in the Duke monkeys for 2 years showing they can be used for extended period. Over time, the monkeys' brains adapted to treat the robotic arm as if it was their own limb, Nicolelis said.