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Movement Through the Power of the Mind

By Medill Reports

May 23, 2011

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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.

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