back to article US brain-computer interface gets live human trials

Boffins in America say that their new "neural interface" brain-plug equipment, intended to let users control computers and machinery merely by thinking, is about to embark on its second stage of clinical trials. The tech is intended initially to help patients suffering from paralysing illness or massive injuries, but has …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    skull jacks

    Am I the only one who thinks that the skull jack would be a lot more cool, in cyberpunk sort of way?

  2. Jaymeister
    Thumb Up

    Can't wait!

    "it isn't hard to imagine people choosing voluntarily to have a BrainGate interface implanted into their heads simply for convenience."

    Darn right it's not! As soon as that's an option I'm going for it! I'm so sick of this clumsy interface of a mouse and keyboard.

  3. deshepherd
    Thumb Down

    Early trials

    Transcript of an early trial of this technology some 35-40 years ago can be found at

  4. It wasnt me

    I for one welcome.....


  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Pinapple Jacks - that's what your old man called them in cyberpunk 2011

  6. Led boot
    Gates Horns

    Blue Screen of DEATH

    What happent when the OS of the newly jacked up recipient of said brain plug runs out of virtual memory...

    Dosnt bode well for cyborgs without a helper near by to turn them off and turn them on again!

  7. SmallYellowFuzzyDuck, how pweety!

    Your caption here?

    Yeah I want my brain to be able to control some form of robotic arm that I can use to press the keys on my keyboard with, then I can leave my arms hanging down my side or something.

    Wait? What? Yeah, my idea may need some refinement.

  8. Ben Rosenthal
    Thumb Up

    I'd volunteer

    although I'd have to keep the news quiet at work, if they found out I actually could have another pair of hands >.<

  9. Anonymous Coward

    I can't help thinking of. . .

    DAVROS sat in his chair with that illuminated blue eye and the thingy on his head moving his Dalek like chariot about.

  10. SuperTim

    Another Arthur C Clarke invention?

    He forsaw this in 3001 (the book, not some futuristic year). His implementation was slightly more interactive though.

  11. EdwardP



  12. Nick Woodruffe

    No way!

    Am I going to have a chip implant running any kind of MS Embeded OS. It will bring a whole new meaning to "brain freeze".

  13. Charles 9

    Sci-Fi concept approaching reality.

    Plenty of sci-fi universes make references to an electronic neural link, with myriad potential uses ranging from basic mechanical control to virtual reality. I had figured technology like this to be a number of decades out, but if the technology matures quickly, this is going to give all sorts of people--supporters, detractors, and the simply curious--reason to pause and think.

    CAUTION: Entering unexplored scientific territory.

  14. Christoph

    Saves a lot of time

    The Nigerians will be able to simply upload some malware to make your arm sign a cheque and post it - no need any more for all those silly emails claiming to be someone's widow.

    And great for troop training too. You *will* all march in unison, whether you want to or not.

  15. Graham 16

    @SmallYellowFuzzyDuck, how pweety!

    Alternatively have several robotic arms attached (say 4) and you'd be able to do loads of things at the same time! But watch out for any pesky Wallcrawlers!

    Mine's the made out of adamantium!

  16. YumDogfood

    Scratch monkey

    Which way round does the connector go again? *Bzzzttt* Oh... Nurse! Code blue!

  17. Adam Foxton
    Thumb Up

    Could you train it

    to let you control extra limbs? It'd being an extra dimension to the whole "furry" thing if they could move the tail (or control a rear set of legs if you went for the whole "centaur" look), you could have a huge range of interesting types of porn, you could have a doc-oc style suit for handling hazardous materials or replacing broken or otherwise disabled limbs.

    Combined with the eye-tracking / visual feedback glasses mentioned on El Reg previously it could be absolutely fantastic- even in a basic form you could have a fantastically powerful interface.

    AR (especially when that becomes embedded) + extra-limb / replacement-limb implants could lead to a magnificent step-change and diversification of humankind. Lets hope it's a good one- and even if it's not, it'll be interesting- so lets hope it happens either way!

  18. Jonathan 10

    Prepare to be assimilated!

    It sounds like something out of Star Trek...

  19. Adam Salisbury
    Thumb Up

    Put me down for 2

    I'd imagine with your brain being so much faster than of the silicon filled boxes you can get today, there's going to be nothing more fun than blowing up your PC by composing an email too quickly :)

  20. Anonymous Coward

    nice idea, but what happens when they dream

    while snoozing away in the dream world, dreaming of running/fighting and god knows what else, the implanted will be blissfully unaware of the chaos they are causing in the real world, smashing the place up with their legs and arms, robot or otherwise, devices they can simply control with their thoughts cycling through on/off states.

  21. tony72

    Captain Cyborg

    Where's Captain Cyborg? Normally when anything interesting like this in the MMI field pops up, he's all over it, finding way to use it for self-publicity. I guess for once Professor Warwick doesn't have a soon-to-be-published book to pimp, wonders will never cease.

  22. Stu

    Criminal control

    Yeah and over time as the technology is perfected and lowered in cost, how about purposefuly severing all limb motor control nerves of a convicted criminal, then REwiring him up using this device.

    The police can then switch the buggers arms and legs off if he 'misbehaves'!!


    Would be great fun, ON, OFF, ON, OFF, ON, OFF, whoops its broken, sorry.

  23. Rob 30


    i think this is an excellent development, proper bit of scifi in action, the thing that always worries me about implanting tech though is the rate new hardware gets develloped & released.

    if it's a socket type then i guess you could use an adapter, so long as the newer model didnt offer new features you wanted, but if it's internal, you'd be looking at brain surgery to alter/upgrade anything...

  24. The Original Ash

    I for one...

    ... welcome myself as your cybernetic Pira-Vikin-inja overlord!

    Yarrr with a flagon of mead and a stealthy approach!

  25. Anonymous John

    Why stop there?

    I'd like an implant with Internet access.

  26. A B 3
    Thumb Up

    Am I the first to...

    see the benefit of this to internet porn. OMG I just made a mess.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I dread to think...

    ... what wireless technology they are going to use. Just imagine some hacker and a laptop managing to gain control of someone elses limbs ...

    "10 Get gun

    20 Move eblow up one point

    30 if gun != head goto 20

    40 pull trigger."

    Anyone thought of wireless interfearance ... and what if two such people got too close together; could each control the others limbs?

    This needs some more work, methinks ... either that or this could birth a very funny comedy film about a group of so fitted people at a singles bar. I can just think of the look on the bartender's face now.

  28. Mathew White

    Don't write back to the monkey

    As the old story goes, make sure your floppy drive is in read only...

    ...don't write back to the monkey.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up


    Can I programme myself to do the housework while I'm asleep with this thing?

    Can I upgrade my brain with extra ram?

  30. phix8

    Yes, please, I want one in my skull, too!

    After all, where's the fun in letting random hackers get in to my pc when all thats there is webmail some MP3's and holiday JPEGS? No, please hack straight in to my central nervous system, I know that letting the governmet directly in to my BRAIN where they could control me without even reaching for a taser sounds like the recipe for a good healthy society!

    How are the signals sent? Hardwire only? No interference? Hmm... I love technology, but you'd be mad to want this stuff in your head.

  31. Scott Herter

    Am I the only one

    Whos first thought was "Ghost in the Shell"? Oh to be a section 9 agent...

  32. Stevie


    Telepathy? Opening doors? WTF?

    I want four robotic tentacular arms with lasers, buzz-saws and grippers able to exert multi tonne forces that I can wear on my back and use to dominate everyone within tentacle reach.

    I can open any doors I care to with these babies *and* I don't need telepathy to know everyone is scared shirtless of me as I do so.

    Then, and only then, I shall rid the world of the smug and supercillious Spiderman, assume control of the good bits of the world and demand tribute in comely female slaves between the ages of 18-24 from the emasculated governments of the free world.

    Yours Sincerely,

    Dr Four Tentacular Robotic Arms Of Nifty Manipulatuion And/Or Total Destruction (working title: actual secret identity subject to final review and granting of doctorate by accredited institute of higher learning).

  33. Paul Simmonds

    Here we go again!

    As long as it doesn't run embedded Windows. Considering this is intended for the severely disabled, I hardly think getting the BSOD just when you need your wheelchair to stop going down a set of stairs would not be very welcome!

    Maybe if someone could just standardise the world on one flavour of i/face for Linux........

  34. Winston Smith

    Re: Yes, please, I want one in my skull, too!

    Well now, who said anything about the government doing the dirty work? Surely Big Pharma will have their rubber-gloved hands all over this.

    Say hello to your new Merck Overlords. No, seriously - say it RIGHT NOW!

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    you are not the first

    Am I the only one

    By Scott Herter Posted Thursday 11th June 2009 15:00 GMT

    Whos first thought was "Ghost in the Shell"? Oh to be a section 9 agent...

    i was thinking the puppeteer/ section 9 and tachikoma

  36. Bounty


    Wireless for mild jerking around, or go wired for full bandwidth 4D (5D?) internet pron.

  37. Anonymous Coward

    @Paul Simmonds, others

    ... the implant won't run Windows or Linux or Unix or OSX. The implant probably won't even have an OS on it. A "computer" doesn't have to mean x86- though they're using them now, once they know what they're looking at/for they could probably manage to get it working with a PIC, some assembler and a very small circuitboard.

    And as for security, the production models will be designed around it, so they'll avoid the security holes of general-purpose systems like Linux and Windows.

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @AC 22:46

    Sense of humour much?

  39. Lionel Baden 1

    security !!

    ill stick to cabling thank you please

    can just imagine what sort of shit you could get up to with wireless connections !

  40. J Joensuu

    Emotiv has something cooler already available

    The Emotiv EPOC headset seems a lot more versatile and is already available for developers (for $500 USD)

    You can check it out here:

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