Real-life cyborg-monkey mind-control

Real-life cyborg-monkey mind-control

Summary: My heart goes out to that cute little monkey with the yellow hat. The science is quite incredible, but I just want to give him a hug.

TOPICS: Health

No matter how you look at it, animal testing is a troubling ethical subject. Animal testing has advanced modern medicine. On the other hand, there's no doubt that the creatures being used for testing -- even if treated in the most humane ways possible -- are still frightened, uncomfortable, and sometimes in real pain.

As this Discovery News article notes:

Treatments for diseases such as diabetes and polio were made possible through animal research, the researchers said, and animals are currently being used in hepatitis-, HIV- and stem cell-related research, among others.

It is with complete awareness of this ethical paradox that I bring you the following bit of video. The science is, without a doubt, absolutely incredible. The idea that a monkey can control a robotic arm, simply through his thoughts, is something that seemed ripped out of those terrible SciFi channel made-for-TV movies my husband and I like so much.

On one hand, the potential for easing human suffering (okay, and giving Nintendo a new gimmick for game input) is profound. As the video shows, there's a tetraplegic patient who's able to manipulate a computer interface just by thought. Imagine what that man could do, the freedoms he'd be offered, if he could control his own limbs just by thinking about it.

It brings back visions of Steve Austin (the Six Million Dollar Man, not the wrestler) and a real, possible future for amazing bionics.

And yet, on the other hand, my heart goes out to that cute little monkey with the yellow hat. I know that under that hat must be electrodes, that he can't really move in that little box, his head might itch and he can't scratch, and just to get a tiny sip of water, he has to control a giant robotic arm.

I just want to give him a hug.

Topic: Health


Denise Amrich is a Registered Nurse, the health care advisor for the U.S. Strategic Perspective Institute, and a mentor for the Virtual Campus at Florida's Brevard Community College.

Nothing in this article is meant to be a substitute for medical advice, and shouldn't be considered as such. If you are in need of medical help, please see your doctor.

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  • What's scary is where this all leads

    Look up "robot controlled by brain cells". Humans will eventually become the Borg collective.

    It's scary, and from my perspective inmoral, though its also unstoppable.
    • while i appreciate your concerns

      .. i'm not entirely convinced this endeavor is such a bad thing. Though i'm certainly no fan of animal testing and vivisection, i reluctantly concede to instances where such testing helps those people that have lost use of body functions and mobility due to illness, injury and/or disease.

      Let me put it this way, would you be so appalled if it were a close loved one of yours (or yourself) who suffered debilitating immobilization and could directly benefit from such flow-on technology?

      Having said all that, yes ... i concur, i felt somewhat uneasy and unnerved too by what this creature - and many other animals like it - has been subjected to in the name of scientific R&D, over many decades.
  • Why don't we trust Doctors?

    Need anyone ask now?
    Tony Burzio