Robot-Simian Unity!

From the New York Times: Monkey’s Thoughts Propel Robot. This is a pretty astounding feat. A monkey in North Carolina with electrodes implanted in its brain walked on a treadmill watching a video feed of a walking robot in Kyoto, Japan. A real-time output from the Monkey’s brain was sent to the robot and enabled the monkey to be a remote “puppet-master” of the robot, causing the robot to walk while exactly mimicking the monkey’s gait, resulting in the robot being metaphorically “possessed” by the monkey.

This is the stuff of science fiction, but incredible research that may one day bring mobility to patients with paralysis and, perhaps further down the road, will allow the average consumer to control devices with a simple thought, assuming means are developed to monitor neuronal activity that are non-invasive. While this kind of thing of thing exists only in a lab today, technology like this may well become commonplace in a couple decades. While this is a really far-out application, it is yet another example of the major transformations we are likely to see in the world of human-computer interaction (HCI) over the long haul, and illustrates why my partners and I are exited about the evolution of HCI at Foundry Group. Mind-control of software will certainly make the mouse look quaint, as will many other nearer-term advances that are available today or will be in the coming five years.

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