Basically, scientists implanted sensors over 100 neurons in the monkeys’ motor cortex, then programmed a computerized arm to respond to different firing patterns. The monkeys were trained using biofeedback, but in a matter of days could control the arm on their own, and even used it in ways that they were not trained to, for example, licking the robot finger when some food stuck to it. Cool.
That said, yet more evidence that biological body-brain systems are still better:
After several days, the monkeys needed no help. They sat stationary in a chair, repeatedly manipulating the arm with their brain to reach out and grab grapes, marshmallows and other nuggets dangled in front of them. The snacks reached the mouths about two-thirds of the time — an impressive rate, compared with earlier work.
(Then again, if you took a youngster just learning to use his or her hands to feed him/herself, it would probably take more than a couple of days to reach this level of accuracy… I wonder if the monkeys will continue to improve their accuracy rate as time goes on?)
I am still waiting to be able to control children with my thoughts……