New Years Day is generally a day reserved for nursing my conscience mind back to normalcy, not advancing it to previously unchartered territory. But, as I lay on my buddy Dane's couch, post [lightbox type="iframe" title="Title" href="http://www.grubhub.com/denver/spicy-basil/?showSmallSearchWidget=Y"]Chinese food[/lightbox] coma, I complained about his choice to watch an [lightbox type="iframe" title="Title" href="http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=50137987n"]episode[/lightbox] of [lightbox type="iframe" title="Title" href="http://www.cbsnews.com/60-minutes/"]60 Minutes[/lightbox] he had DVRed earlier in the week. Since my tush was planted on his sofa, whining was as far as my objection would get. (These days I watch NFL analysis when I control the remote.) While the CBS show often surprises me when I'm forced to watch it, it seemed like all the typical boring stories that don't generally provoke much internal dialogue. Until... BAM, a long segment on something that I literally thought was science-fiction when it first came on: [lightbox type="iframe" title="Title" href="http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/science/jan-june12/roboticarms_05-16.html"]Robotic prosthetics controlled by your brain[/lightbox]. If that doesn't sound like sci-fi to you, you probably have weird dreams that I want to hear about, so comment below.
What exactly are robotic prosthetics that are controlled by your brain?
That's it, precisely what it sounds like. Scientists started experimenting on this with monkeys and with wild success, needed a willing human to take part in the experimentation. The first lady they introduce in the story had [lightbox title="Title" href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-7tlq7_diGNs/Tl2Lyz0xX7I/AAAAAAAAaR0/o2Y5YFwCwsk/s1600/Gifkings.com-0170.gif"]elective brain surgery[/lightbox] so they could implant the wires and communication devices so she could use her own mind to control a robotic arm. She is paralyzed from the neck down, but when she is connected to the free-standing robotic arm, she simply has to think about moving the limb like it was her own and it does what she thinks. I never conceived anything like this and am still in shock that technology has advanced in such a way. However, it doesn't stop there in sophistication.
The next man in the vignette is not paralyzed, but rather is missing one arm from just above the elbow. The doctors built him a robotic prosthetic that connects via wires to nerves in his arm and doesn't require any brain surgery. When the arm is connected, he simply feels like his normal arm is still attached. Somehow they can connect to his nerves in such a way that his brain and body just detect a normal limb. Not only can he control the limb with his thoughts, but he actually gets signals back and therefore can feel and receive [lightbox title="Title" href="http://www.reactiongifs.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/mind_blown.gif"]information[/lightbox] from it as well. That is the most unbelievable part of the story to me.
In conclusion, if scientists can actually enable you to control artificial limbs with your mind and receive sensory information from them in return, why can't I [lightbox type="iframe" title="Title" href="http://listverse.com/2008/08/02/top-10-quirkiest-early-flying-machines/"]fly[/lightbox] to work yet?
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