MINNEAPOLIS - As a doctoral student at the University of Minnesota, Brad Edelman sees a lot of cool things in Biomedical Engineering.
But nothing grabbed his attention like a robotic arm he can move completely with his brain.
“You have to really focus and think about what you want to happen,” Edelman said.
Three years ago, researchers wondered how to better harness the power of the mind, and began testing the robotic arm.
Wearing what looks like a swim cap, Edelman thinks exactly about what he wants the arm to do.
“I’m imagining opening closing my right hand, opening and closing my left hand, opening and closing both of them, or just completely resting,” he said, using the robotic arm to pick up foam blocks as researcher Steve Meng gives him tasks.
And when he imagines those things, they happen -- his brain sending a signal to the arm to move just like he wants it. Many say it sounds unbelievable, and even lead researcher Dr. Bin He didn't think it was possible.
“I was really skeptical,” he said.
But after seeing it firsthand, he says the technology could help not only people with paralysis or degenerative diseases, but all of us.
“It could change the way even general populations live in our society,” he said. “We're going to see a lot more exciting things happen.”
Already, the technology has gotten better and could soon be totally wireless, advances that are giving hope to millions and new meaning to mind over matter.