Thoughts Control Robotic Hand


By implanting an array of electrodes into the motor cortex of a quadriplegic patient’s brain, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh have enabled the patient to control a robotic, prosthetic hand. The new treatment, published yesterday (December 16) in The Lancet, is a benchmark in thought-controlled movement that rivals the way an unimpaired brain directs limb movement.

“This bioinspired brain-machine interface is a remarkable technological and biomedical achievement,” Professor Grégoire Courtine of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL) said in a press release. “Though plenty of challenges lie ahead, these sorts of systems are rapidly approaching the point of clinical fruition.”

Researchers implanted the electrode array into the brain of a 52-year-old, quadriplegic female patient. The array connected to a robotic hand, which mimics movements of a human wrist and fingers. Though the patient underwent 14 weeks of computer-assisted training, she was able to control the prosthetic within the first 2 days.

Written By: Beth Marie Mole
continue to source article at


  1. I wonder if they’ve experimented with introducing response latency, and what effect that has on the ability to control the arm. Being able to deal with that would allow remote control, which could be interesting combined with an ability to switch between arms. If she practiced with a computer model, presumably control of an arm viewed through a camera would also be possible, if harder in some cases.

Leave a Reply