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DARPA-Backed Research Team Demos Brain-Machine Interface System

research and development RDA research team funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has demonstrated a brain-machine interface system that works to provide a sense of touch to a paralyzed man.

A group of researchers from the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center used wires to link four microelectrode arrays implanted on the brain of a patient with quadriplegia to a robotic arm developed by Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, DARPA said Thursday.

JHU APL’s robotic arm has torque sensors that work to turn physical sensations into electrical signals when pressure is applied to the arm’s fingers and then transmit such signals back to the patient’s implanted microelectrode arrays through the wires.

Study results showed that the patient was able to identify which of the robotic arm’s fingers is being touched with nearly 100 percent accuracy.

DARPA funded the research demonstration through the Revolutionizing Prosthetics program that aims to restore the sense of touch to amputees.

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