Scientists at the Brown University, Rhode Island, USA, have invented a new machine that will hopefully help neurologists understand better how information is transmitted along the brain cells (neurons). It simply measures the signal emitted in the primary motor cortex – the area of the brain responsible for hand-eye co-ordination – and a computer tries to copy this signal, which is then used to reproduce the movement in a primate limb.

By reducing the difference between the original signal and the computer-generated one, and by comparing the effects both have on limb movement, the scientists hope to be able to decipher the code that the brain uses to generate limb motion.

Future applications of such a device could include the control of artificial limbs, wheelchairs, and even voice synthesizers.

Source: United States Patent Application #20070046486

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