Turning a thought into action is a reality, thanks to research groups are developing brain-machine interfaces.

A stroke can leave you quadriplegic cerebral, sitting speechless and unable to move in a wheelchair for the rest of your life. A car accident can leave you paraplegic, unable to walk again, or practice your favorite sport. But suppose for a moment think that even being quadriplegic think you’re thirsty and suddenly, because of that thought a robot arm obeys you and brings you a bottle of water so you can drink from it. No, not science fiction, science advances and that today it is possible.

The Bionic World

In the case of a stroke, blockage of a blood vessel may be left without irrigation by brain stem, the portion of the nervous system that connects the brain to the rest of the body, causing a full or partial immobilization of the human body. While a tiny if implanted sensor-the size of a pencil eraser, in a specific area of ​​the surface of the cerebral cortex, under the skull, the brain-body connection can become reset.


The sensor has a tiny electrodes that sink just one millimeter, and they collect the murmurs of a group of neurons that planned and executed the movements of the arms. Thus, in this manner, the electrodes collect and send signals to a computer cable. A program decodes and translates them into instructions that a robotic hand can understand. Then, a person plugged into a cable and through a machine, incredible as it may seem, this person can learn to control the artificial hand and arm at the thought.

Educating the brain

There is no doubt that the human brain remains a mystery. He has been investigating what happens in patients with different injuries: amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, stroke and spinal cord injury. They have found that each of them when they think, despite their inability, which are moving an arm turns his brain, and specifically, the same part that controls movement of the arm. Therefore, it has been deduced that the brain distributes commands and creates maps. For example, if you raise your left hand and places it over his head, extending his fingers on the right, will be covering the area of the cerebral cortex that handles almost exclusively to run the movement. But other areas are responsible before planning.

The dream come true

The discovery of the plasticity of the brain to form new maps is very flattering. If not, remember as a child and learned to ride a bike, with all that this entailed: pedal at the same time it had to maintain balance. So we get to the bike though many years have elapsed since the last time. And so it is when we learn to handle a tennis racket, or not to fall on skis, and the brain is able to assign new neural circuits to control a robotic arm or a prosthesis, which need not be the same circuits that handle arms and legs.