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Ultrasound Reads Monkey Brains, Opening Path to Controlling Machines with Thought


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The researchers slotted a small ultrasound transducer, roughly the size and shape of a domino, into the skull of each monkey.

California Institute of Technology researchers transformed a series of ultrasound images from a monkeys brain into predictions about the animal's intended movements.

Credit: Sumner Norman

Researchers at the California Institute of Technology have developed a method of predicting a monkey's intended eye or hand movements using ultrasound imaging.

Their findings could help people who are paralyzed to control prostheses without requiring implants in their brains (although the technique does require a small piece of skull to be removed).

Since functional ultrasound provides a less direct signal than implanted electrodes, the researchers tested whether the signal provides sufficient information for a computer to interpret the intended movement by inserting ultrasound transducers into the skulls of two rhesus macaque monkeys.

The researchers found the algorithm was 78% accurate in predicting monkey eye movements, and 89% accurate in predicting an arm reach.



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