'60 Minutes': Decoding language of the brain Video
'60 Minutes': Decoding language of the brain Video Transcript
>> At the University of Pittsburgh implanting electrodes inside the brains of monkeys.
>> This is an array --
>> Andy Schwartz, a neuroscientist at the University implanted this grid of electrodes. It's tiny, but there are one hundred sensors, each listening to a different brain cell or neuron.
>> What does it sound like?
>> Ah well, we can it on. It sounds like a Geiger counter clicking.
>> Let's -- can we turn up the speakers?
>> It's like listening to the symphony of the brain, but now sitting in the front row.
>> So tell me what we're hearing.
>> Right there you're hearing the cell fire.
>> The brain is telling us how it works. We just have to figure out the language.
>> Schwartz has been decoding that language by watching the monkey's movement and recording the corresponding signals in its brain.
>> So what does that tell you?
>> So there's a relationship between how fast the neuron fires and the way the animal moves its hand. And we're trying to understand that relationship so that if we see a neuron firing, we can say, "Ah, the animal's about to make this kind of movement."
>> Once Schwartz started to figure out that relationship, he was able to connect the monkey's brain directly to a robotic arm. Within days, the monkey operated the arm as if it was his own.
>> The monkey has both arms restrained. And we're recording brain signals from its brain. And it's using those brain signals to operate this entire arm.
>> So he's operating the arm in three dimensions, up, down, forward, and back.
>> As well as the gripper.
>> Now, what you're telling me is that the monkey is operating this arm with nothing but his thoughts.
>> Absolutely. Now, you see the evidence right there. There's the proof of the principle right there.
>> Schwartz told us that he was surprised that within a couple of weeks, the monkey started learning new ways to use the arm.
>> You see that instead of going for the target, he'd rather lick the marshmallow off the hand, just like a kid licking his sticky hand. So this is what we consider an example of embodiment, as if he was considering this device to be part of his own body.
>> What are the chances that a human being would be able to do this same thing?
>> Oh, we think a human being could do much better. ^M00:02:13 [ Clock ticking ]
By implanting an electrode inside the brain of a monkey, Andrew Schwartz has been able to decode the language of the brain in a greater attempt to create a new technology which would allow those who are paralyzed to control movement by their minds.
Using an implanted grid of electrodes inside the brain of monkey, Andrew Schwartz has found a relationship between how fast a neuron fires and the way the monkey moves its hand. Once they can understand the relationship, they can write a set of equations which will decode the monkey's intended hand movement in order to find a way to control a prosthetic device.
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