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Movement Through the Power of the Mind

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brain signals on computer display

When brain signals are turned into a computer formula, those signals can move a computer cursor with the power of thought.

Credit: Bethany Hubbard / Medill

Several U.S. universities are conducting research in motor memory and brain-machine interfaces. For example, Brown University's BrainGate2 research team, which includes neuroscientists, engineers, and computer scientists, is developing technologies to restore the communication, mobility, and independence of people with neurologic problems.

University of Chicago researcher Nicholas Hatsopoulos uses brain-machine interfaces to study how the body moves, and his research has shown that it is likely that motor memory is stored throughout the brain, instead of in one specific place. Hatsopoulos says a greater understanding of how motor memory works could give paraplegics a better quality of life.

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign professor Tim Bretl, as a member of the Brain-Machine Interface Group, uses electroencardiogram technology to enable people to fly small fixed-wing unmanned aircrafts. Meanwhile, the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Neural Interface Technology Research and Optimization Lab is using brain-machine interfaces to enhance social media.

From Medill Reports
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