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Science Technology

Think And Click 316

cecil36 writes: "Yahoo! has reported that scientists have discovered neural technology that allowed a monkey to control a mouse cursor using the brain. ... Further reading states that this technology can be used with the paralyzed or those with Lou Gehrig's Disease to allow them to use their computers."
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Think And Click

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  • Finally! (Score:3, Funny)

    by Toby Truman ( 555615 ) on Thursday January 31, 2002 @03:49PM (#2932638) Homepage
    It's about time, because Doritos crumbs and Coke syrup are wrecking my mouse ball!

    Better than an optical mouse, it's...a cognitive mouse?

  • Great.... (Score:1, Troll)

    by Mr. Neutron ( 3115 )
    Just when we thought the world was safe from Steven Hawkings, he can now give more boring lectures by "zapping" words directly into a terminal using his brain.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    They used the monkey's internal wiring to allow it to manipulate a peripheral "arm" that was attached to a "hand" with several digits allowing not only the movement of the mouse but also pressing of buttons as well.

    Hooray for Science!
  • by Archie Steel ( 539670 ) on Thursday January 31, 2002 @03:50PM (#2932657)
    ...does that mean we're now going to have to design computers that are easy enough for a monkey to use?

    The new distribution's name could be: Mandrill Linux 8.2 (also known as Red Butt Linux...)

    Hmmm...I guess those Ximian guys have been on to this for a while...
    • Well, we don't want to give the monkeys too much power, they might cause some damage, or accidentally write some Shakespeare or something. We just need to give them toy computers. Something cute. Maybe something that looks like a flower or something. Hey, wait a minute...
    • does that mean we're now going to have to design computers that are easy enough for a monkey to use?

      Exactly. You can pruchase all your books through Amazon's one-thought-click-to-order through your new edition of Microsoft's Simian EZ....

    • Naw, it just means that the archaic input device known as the "mouse" will now be replaced with the much more sophisticated "monkey".

      Though I'm not sure trying to convince a monkey to click somewhere on the screen is really a step up from just moving a mouse yourself. :)
    • I'm more worried about amazon...

      They'll have a heyday with "One Thought Shopping!"
  • Reference to the MS April Fool's press release a few years ago.
  • by Dimwit ( 36756 ) on Thursday January 31, 2002 @03:51PM (#2932662)
    And for some reason, we kept getting all these different screenplays...something called "Hamlet", and another called "Othello"...

    That and complaints about having wires jammed in its brain...
  • by The Living Fractal ( 162153 ) <banantarr@@@hotmail...com> on Thursday January 31, 2002 @03:52PM (#2932673) Homepage
    Is that I will no longer be beatable in any FPS game. My mental aim is flawless. You are all dead.
  • by mattbelcher ( 519012 ) <matt AT mattbelcher DOT com> on Thursday January 31, 2002 @03:52PM (#2932674) Homepage
    Wouldn't it be embarrassing to find your computer downloading pr0n everytime one of those Herbal Essences commercials comes on the TV?
    • No thanks, I think I'll leave that piece of technology for others. I'd really be embarrased, sitting there, extreme programming with my sexy colleague. It's already hard enough to keep my eyes on the screen. So, no thanks.

    • Think how many of those "young hot coeds waiting for you" SPAM you'd end up opening. I avoid them now since my concious brain says "wait a minute, clicking will just validate your email address", which is slightly faster than my hand can move my mouse. If the cursor moves at the speed of thought, I'm never going to get through to reading legitimate emails.

    • Wouldn't it be embarrassing to find your computer downloading pr0n

      I'll settle for my computer downloading pr0n on my command, while I'm sitting in front of it, so that my mouse arm can occupy itself with... other "jobs"
  • Good training (Score:4, Insightful)

    by esw ( 247639 ) on Thursday January 31, 2002 @03:52PM (#2932677)
    "Going one step further, her team then trained the monkey to simply think about a movement, without reaching out and touching the screen."

    So how exactly do you train a monkey to think about doing something without doing it? I'm quite surprised that they were able to do that with the current level of communication between primates and humans.

    • I'm quite surprised they were able to do that with the current level of communications between humans, period.

      Stevis, frustrated at his local scientific communication

    • What does it mean, exactly, to "think about" something? They trained the monkey to produce neural patterns that had some perceived correlation with a certain action, without actually invoking that action. The "mouse" was configured to go off of these neural patterns. What the monkey was actually thinking about, only the monkey actually knows.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 31, 2002 @04:09PM (#2932838)
      Step 1: Condition monkey to point mouse cursor at picture of food, to receive food reward.

      Step 2: Record neural signature before and during actions of Step 1.

      Step 3: Remove mouse from monkey.

      Step 4: Show picture of food along with picture of mouse cursor, at a random relative angle.

      Step 5: Reward monkey if and only if detecting neural signature of monkey making correct mouse vector movement.

      Step 6: Repeat steps 4 and 5.

      Step 7: Publish statistics.

      Frankly, I won't be satisfied until they wire the monkey's brain to the Universal Translator [ectaco.com]

      • yes, but i thought it was precisely the recording of the neural sig that was the hard part. there was a wired article not too long ago (ah, found it [wired.com] --i think it was the one with the ucla researchers) about just how imprecise/crude the recording is w/ current (non-invasive?) technology.
    • "So how exactly do you train a monkey to think about doing something without doing it? I'm quite surprised that they were able to do that with the current level of communication between primates and humans."

      It might work if you put the monkey in a straightjacket or other restraint--since it would be rewarded for touching the screen, you could see if the same neural pattern was invoked, I wouldn't be surprised if it was (along with the neural pattern for frustration). As they said, once they did the surgery and the monkey found it it could avoid moving, it prefered to just 'think' about it. This implies, as an interesting side note, that monkeys also have the capability to mentally plan/rehearse movements, just like humans do.

      Overall, this seems like a really cool experiment. There have been some other work with non-invasive procedures, but those usually involve learning a new system of biofeedback. If they could actually get this to the point where they could train a paralyzed person to imagine touching controls to manipulate them, it would be a huge breakthrough.
    • "Going one step further, her team then trained the monkey to simply think about a movement, without reaching out and touching the screen."

      So how exactly do you train a monkey to think about doing something without doing it?

      I would ask why they even wasted their time training a monkey to *think* about moving a mouse. Just give him the mouse, and disconnect the damn thing.

      THEN, if successful, maybe go to that step.. but since we don't need paralyzed monkey's moving mice, I would recommend doing something a little more useful.

  • by liquidsin ( 398151 ) on Thursday January 31, 2002 @03:52PM (#2932678) Homepage
    ...scientists have discovered neural technology that allowed a monkey to control a mouse cursor...

    That's right. AOL 7.0 is all new, and easier than ever!

  • this technology can be used with the paralyzed or those with Lou Gehrig's Disease to allow them to use their computers.

    That's nice and all, but better yet, it can be used by lazy bastards like me who don't want to burn the calories it takes to work the mouse.
  • by jidar ( 83795 )
    Well thats pretty neat, albeit very intrusive. I think it goes without saying that this is a long way off from being used with human patients, but maybe some day.

    One thing that has occured to me, and you're going to think I'm nuts, but I wonder if this would improve my q3 accuracy. No.. but seriously.. it might...
    • Re:Neat. (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Winged Cat ( 101773 )
      It might improve your response time, if the signal travels faster from brain through reader to cable into computer, than from brain through neural system to hand to mouse to cable to computer.

      The upgrade I'm looking forward to is when they can emulate the individual neurons in chips, then replace the neurons (one by one if necessary) and accelerate any discrete subsystems that have been fully replaced. Output to computer should then go a bit faster, not to mention better possibility of revival if my body gets shut down (and I don't mean just sleep).
      • Output to computer should then go a bit faster, not to mention better possibility of revival if my body gets shut down (and I don't mean just sleep).

        Sounds like a page out of Neuromancer.

  • This is old tech (circa 1997)...
  • Lou Gehrig's Disease? How'd he not see that one coming?
  • ...the "other" scientists have made a breakthrough where a "monkey" can be controlled by another "monkey" via a remote system.

    Paranoia or just a joke... you decide.
  • WOW! Surf pr0n totally HANDS-FREE!

    But seriously, if this pans out, imagine the developments for those who have the use of their hand as well as those who don't. Vehicle and machine controls come to mind(operate manually while accessing computerized info via handsfree), as well as one heck of a video-game. The "it could kill you" seems a little far-fetched to me tho, if properly implemented.
    • Re:Really? (Score:2, Funny)

      by .sig ( 180877 )
      Well, it wouldn't be hands-free, just no hands working the computer....

      Sorry, couldn't resist that one

  • Telepahy (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Catskul ( 323619 ) on Thursday January 31, 2002 @03:54PM (#2932704) Homepage
    Two people with these things and radio tramsmitters could potentialy communicate "telepathicly". Awesome.
    • Great! I await the day when some anarchist hacker decides to hack into my headspace and post messages about evil corporate conglomerates!

      Excellent! I can't wait until my brain is subpoenaed by law enforcement because I've supposedly hidden warez files in my left temporal lobe:

      "We're gonna have to confiscate your brain."
      "Do I get a replacement brain?"
      "Uh, you do know that the human body can't FUNCTION with a BRAIN, don't you?"
      "Not my problem, criminal."
      "I haven't been convicted yet."
      "You will be. You will be."

      This just gets worse and worse. First, Ashkrofft and Busche, and now this? I was gonna be funny and now I'm just scared.

      I'm gonna go hide under a rock for a while.
  • A new trend in internet marketing:

    Company with slogan
    I Think Therefore I Spam.

    employee base, 500 monkeys.

    shoot the monkey and win bananna bucks!!!
  • by RobPiano ( 471698 ) on Thursday January 31, 2002 @03:55PM (#2932709)
    The article doesn't have much detail on the actual transmition of the signal. Well other than the fact that I would hesistate to stick anything in my head these days, I wonder how precise an activity like this is. Signal could be effected by other signals in the area. Like how hearing implants can be effected by cellphones.

    Oh well still seems cool.

    Maybe a better application of this would be for 3D apps in the future. 3D Mice suck.

  • If this comes out you'd better be careful about what your thinking when that naughty pop-ad appears.
  • by copyconstructor ( 124033 ) on Thursday January 31, 2002 @03:56PM (#2932720)
    Good to see Katz is taking Dubya up on his volunteerism agenda and making himself available as a research subject.
  • nothing new (Score:5, Informative)

    by Syre ( 234917 ) on Thursday January 31, 2002 @03:58PM (#2932740)
  • does that mean every 10 min the mouse will draw out lewd shapes on the screen?
  • I wonder how well this works in Quake. Would the cursor instantly snap to the location you were thinking of, or would you have to think 'move left some, then move up some', and if it's the later, what kind of sensitivity would it have?
  • What if I were using this technology to control a remote control arm, and thought about making a middle finger at someone I was frustrated with. Or one of the many impulsive thoughts that go through everyone's mind each day. Would this be unavoidable?

    Would a person have to worry about fantasies and whims that pass through our minds being acted out?

    That would make me feel almost more trapped, in a way.

  • Finaly! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by bflong ( 107195 )
    Does this mean that I can finaly have the "Focus Follow's Brain" option in my window manager? I'm tired of telling people in IRC what shell commands I'm trying to run and I don't like my naughty IRC comments being logged in .bash_history.
  • by smack_attack ( 171144 ) on Thursday January 31, 2002 @04:01PM (#2932765) Homepage
    This will allow me to keep both hands free while I surf for porn.
  • Sigh.. guess I'll have to start wearing my tin-foil hat again.

    More seriously, how did they know that the monkey was thinking about moving stuff ? Maybe 'move cursor left' was actually 'damnit let me out of this crappy chair'.. Also, how erratic were the cursor movements? Could be fun to play UT with that (and reserving your hands to more useful purposes, like eating or punching your oppenents.)

  • by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Thursday January 31, 2002 @04:03PM (#2932780)
    Getting the monkey to understand where you want to move the mouse.
  • I saw this on a special about 'future tech' on PBS one time. the US Air Force was working on it. The current system used electrodes on the forehead.

    Also, there was a biofeedback-based game controller that looked like a Secret Decoder Ring or something, that a guy was playing a skiing game with.
    • Re:old news (Score:3, Informative)

      by Knobby ( 71829 )

      The Air Force must not have gotten too far because DARPA is currently requesting proposals for research leading to a Brain-Machine interface.

      The problem with most brain-machine interfaces is the skull and fluid surrounding the brain. Both of these elements serve as spatial and temporal filters degrading the usefullness of electrodes placed outside the skull as control sensors.

      • The Air Force must not have gotten too far because DARPA is currently requesting proposals for research leading to a Brain-Machine interface.

        Yeah, I remember that now. They weren't doing too well with it, the guy testing it could think certain words and they'd appear, and could move a cursor around a bit, but that was it - no 'computing at the speed of thought' or anything. They might have been just trying to get it to the point where a pilot could move his radar cursor around.
  • by CDWert ( 450988 ) on Thursday January 31, 2002 @04:03PM (#2932792) Homepage
    Alright now all we need a plane you could fly this way :)

    Seriously think of the plethora of military applications, Im sure they are. I wonder how much room for error or lingering thoughts there is .

    Its esay , sometimes to think about something and not pysically execute that movement. WHAT HAPPENS when you JUST THINK and it happens, I could think of all kinds of scenarios this would be MUY bad, remember the end of the first ghostbusters movie :)

    Typing in this manner or "mousing" would be pretty cool if they could come up with a completley exeternal device, having wires sewn into my brain sac dont sound like much fun. Hopefully this is a firt step in 2 way electronic to neural communication links, think about what a computer could teach a person who was say paralyzed, analyze neural paths and make calculated reccomndations for rerouting directly to the brain, that was your movement would be through EXISTING undamaged pathways, then again a glitch in the software might make you wet your pants every time you try to scratch you foot but hey its progress :)
    • "I could think of all kinds of scenarios this would be MUY bad, remember the end of the first ghostbusters movie :)"

      What--you don't like toasted marshmallows?
    • I wasn't far into my own stint in the Air Force when I decided that a brain-controlled combat plane would be an extremely bad idea. Let's see now: Colonel Jones calls together his pilots, and informs them that due to an extremely heavy schedule of combat missions, leaves are canceled, and they are all confined to base until further notice. Then the Colonel climbs into his airplane and leads a dozen of those pilots into combat, each with the trigger wired into his brain. The colonel isn't coming back, because someone's going to think "I want to kill that bastard" just a little too hard.

      And the peacetime AF is a nice, friendly organization as military units go. In infantry, if the privates don't want to kill the sergeant, he's not trying hard enough. Really, the obvious plan of infantry training is to get the men riled up and ready to kill _something_, but not quite enough to forget that there's a death penalty for attacking a superior. And then tell them the reason they're here, living outdoors, eating mystery rations, and getting harassed by sergeants and officers, is because of those bastards over there -- and it's OK to kill _them_!
  • From the article:

    ...Even more challenging are ``Terminator''-type applications that would allow the minds of healthy individuals to meld with machines--allowing drivers to ``think'' their way through traffic, for example, or granting pilots the ability to navigate the skies with their mind....

    I can see it now... "Pilot falls asleep at the wheel.. Dreams of 20,000 leagues under the sea... 300 dead..."

    This article lacks details, but I don't understand how they're going to turn moving a cursor into piloting a 20-ton rocket-powered tin can...
  • good news! (Score:5, Funny)

    by mrroot ( 543673 ) on Thursday January 31, 2002 @04:06PM (#2932813)
    ``In fact,'' she said, ``we found that he became quite reluctant to move his arm to the reach command once the cursor was introduced into the game. Apparently it was easier just to think about reaching.''

    Wow, this is good news not just for the handicapped but also for those of us who are just plain lazy. Often times I find myself _thinking_ of doing things but never actually _doing_ them.
  • by pheph ( 234655 ) on Thursday January 31, 2002 @04:07PM (#2932823) Homepage
    US Patent #5,960,412 : One-Thought-Shopping:

    A method and system for placing an order to purchase an item via the Internet. The order is placed by a purchaser at a client brain and received by a server system. The server system receives purchaser information including identification of the purchaser, payment information, and shipment information from the client brain. The server system then assigns a client identifier to the client brain and associates the assigned client identifier with the received purchaser information. The server system sends to the client system the assigned client identifier and an HTML document identifying the item and including an order button. The client brain receives and stores the assigned client identifier and receives and displays the HTML document. In response to the selection of the order button, the client brain sends to the server system a request to purchase the identified item. The server system receives the request and combines the purchaser information associated with the client identifier of the client brain to generate an order to purchase the item in accordance with the billing and shipment information whereby the purchaser effects the ordering of the product by selection of the order button.
  • As the article states, the monkeys controlled a screen cursor, not a mouse cursor. There was no mechanical pointing device (mouse, trackball, etc.) involved. What sets this research apart from other work done in this area is that electrodes were implanted directly into a specific, targeted, area of the brain. Other research had been done with either generalized implanted electrodes or surface electrodes (like are used on an EEG machine).
  • by SysKoll ( 48967 ) on Thursday January 31, 2002 @04:14PM (#2932892)

    The real nifty applications will come when this neuronal interfacing technology will be used to bypass deficient nerve links (spine damage) or to supplement/replace deficient muscle (muscular dystrophy and a ton of other debilitating illnesses).

    I think focusing on computers is missing the point. It's not the ability to send email that is important here. It's the possibility of having protheses and artificial capacities integrated in the neural feedback loop. Prothesic legs that 1) you can contol by thought instead of having to provide commands, and 2) send back balance information, now that would be a revolution.

    We are getting closer. That's an excellent news.

    -- SysKoll
    • Indeed. Prosthetics are the most plausible useful application of this technology for the near future. I still puzzle at the claim that several neurons were identified in the initiation and control of volutary movement, though. Every voluntary muscle command channel contains several feedback loops that essentially dampen and modify the signal to ensure that the movement doesn't overshoot or fall short of the target. These signals come from cells within muslces that inform the brain of the amount of current tension in the muscle and from specialized neurons within the joints that report flexion angle with one-degree accuracy.

      People without the most important of these channels basically have Parkinsons. They can initiate action, but the action is delayed because they have a difficult time ending their previous action. Similarly, they shake violently the entire time, because of the grossly overestimated signals coming from their motor cortex. This makes me wonder how fine the mouse movement control could have been on the part of the monkey. People with parkinsons are severaly disabled, but might still be able to complete such a large-scale task with 90% accuracy, too.

      To really use this for prosthetics, you'd have to not only detect the impulse to commit the action, but you'd also probably have to send signals back up via the remaining somatic nerves [in the case of amputation] or directly into the brain [in the case of degenerative disease.] Mental signals are not a matter of On or Off, they are on a sliding scale from strongly inhibitory to strongly excitatory. Signal regulation is the golden egg.

      If these are the few neurons responsible for initiation of reaching action, how can the rest of the system determine when the monkey means to reach normally or reach virtually? I'd like to know whether there was any twitch in the arm when the mental cursor was moving.

      There is a fantastic difference between "up, down, left & right" and "reach for and grasp object 3 feet from here." It's nice to see enthusiasm, but it's a little premature.
    • The real nifty applications will come when this neuronal interfacing technology will be used to bypass deficient nerve links (spine damage) or to supplement/replace deficient muscle (muscular dystrophy and a ton of other debilitating illnesses).

      And then Stephen Hawking will really be able to get some work done, instead of having to use the crappy computer interface he's currently restricted to.

  • These guys have had a commercially available
    brain actuated mouse cursor gizmo out for years.

  • by jpellino ( 202698 ) on Thursday January 31, 2002 @04:24PM (#2932981)
    As the monkey immediately used Amazon 1-Click to order 17,324 copies of "Curious George".
  • by Cutriss ( 262920 ) on Thursday January 31, 2002 @04:24PM (#2932984) Homepage
    Keyloggers are a thing of the past now! Now the big bad men in suits can just sit outside your apartment and scan your brainwaves to detect all your pr0n and warez passwords! Just think! Or...erm...don't!
  • by blakestah ( 91866 ) <blakestah@gmail.com> on Thursday January 31, 2002 @04:24PM (#2932985) Homepage
    This press release is kinda interesting. First, the work was presented over two months ago. Second, the work was carried out in the lab of Richard Andersen [caltech.edu]. Yet Andersen, who has spent a lot of the last decade reorganizing his lab around such efforts, was not mentioned. Instead, Meeker, a graduate student on the project [caltech.edu] was named. In addition, all this work in the Andersen lab was spearheaded by a person who is now at Stanford, Krishna Shenoy [stanford.edu] who recently left the lab. In addition, the intellectual property for the project, the patents, are co-authored by Andersen and Shenoy.

    It's kinda weird when you know a bit about the work behind these press releases, and then see how it is actually presented to the "lay" public.

    Personally, I think the project has a low probability of success. A neural prosthetic device should be interfaced with as peripheral part of the nervous system as possible. This group has chosen to use as abstract a part of the nervous system as possible. But maybe they'll prove me wrong.
  • by Lxy ( 80823 )
    neural technology that allowed a monkey to control a mouse

    Anyone who has ever worked tech support knows that this technology is nothing new. Every day our voice mail is full of these mouse controlling monkey-brained folks.
  • by MenTaLguY ( 5483 ) on Thursday January 31, 2002 @04:31PM (#2933053) Homepage
    While I'm sure this could substantially enhance the lives of the paralyzed (for example), the widespread use of such systems in e.g. driving or piloting (particularly by healthy individuals) could be a real problem.

    If there's one lesson the Internet has taught us, it's that the less separation there is between thought and action, the more people will do stupid things.

    The area of the brain mentioned in the article has to do with the early "desire to act", long before many of the normal checks and balances governing our actions come into play.

    Has anyone seen the episode of Red Dwarf where Lister gets the prosthetic arm and can't stop it from beating up Kryten?
  • . . .I'm all for increased computer accessibility, and this is an important step.

    Everytime I'm out mountain biking, or inline skating, or kicking ass in a bar fight I worry about what I'll do if I break my arm or hand.

    This technology isn't just for people with debilitating disease or amputees. It's for the punk who tried an eight foot jump on his cross country hardtail and bit it hard.

    Here's an exercise for those of you reading this right now. Try to move to the last story without using your hands.

    Anything that makes computers easier to use I'm all for.
  • Further Reading (Score:4, Informative)

    by Yurian ( 164643 ) on Thursday January 31, 2002 @04:33PM (#2933071) Homepage
    There's quite a bit of this stuff going on - Just last week I was talking to the guy in the Engineering department here [ox.ac.uk] that has a project doing something similar. I can't seem to find his site at the moment, but the ABI project [sta.jrc.it] is another similar effort with a nice, informative site at about the same level of development.

    The actual reseacrh described in the Yahoo article using implanted electrodes seems a bit strange - though the claim to have identified a few individual neurons is interesting.

    Most of the other groups are working with stick-on electrodes. At the moment all they can do is move a mosue around a screen and click, but progress seems to be good - Correct recognition is around 70% after 5 one-hour sessions, which sounds impressive to me. The big obstacle to getting this into service for real people with disabilities is that the hardware is currently a bit chunky, especially the EEG machine. But we all know what happens to hardware, very, very quickly.

    Oh - and, yes, the guy i talked to says the thing that secretlty drives him is eventually using it to play Quake. (Wonderful thing, altrusim)

    Now wouldn't that be cool.(Unfortuantely you have to shave your head, I think!)

  • Great, here we go, next thing you know our decendants will be ruled by super monkeys.

    Let me say it now 'Get your filthy paws off me you damned dirty clicking ape'.

    Borg monkeys will be the bane of organ grinders everywhere.

  • More information (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 31, 2002 @04:38PM (#2933119)

    Daniella is part of Richard Anderson's lab [caltech.edu] at Caltech. They research motor planning and spatial orientation. It is a very interesting place.

    As pointed out in the article, the area from which they record makes this experiment significantly different from previous ones. Several lab have done similar work, but they were less sure of the origin of their signal. Much of the sensory and motors areas of the cortex are right next to each other. It was not clear whether the recorded signals were motor signals or sensory signals driven by stretch sensors within muscles or something similar. The area Daniella records from is fairly far away from sensory cortex. There is much less chance that they are recording feedback from the sensory side. For comparison, examine an older story [slashdot.org] from a team of competitors.

  • by Rothfuss ( 47480 ) <chris.rothfuss@g ... Dl.com minus bsd> on Thursday January 31, 2002 @04:45PM (#2933193) Homepage
    The details:

    First the monkey was tricked into installing "Comet Cursor." Then, after the 17th X10 popup ad, he finally just began hurling feces at the monitor. Fortunately, Matthew Broderick came along and rescued him.
  • I love the part about how the monkey, once it realized that it didn't have to move in order to get the computer to respond, became reluctant to move.

    This is much like what happens when a man gets a remote control - he becomes reluctant to move...

    Seriously though, the question is, are the neurons they are watching affected by diseases like ALS? If so, then this sort of technique wouldn't benefit people like Dr. Hawking....
  • I want it...I must have these implants. I must have them for one reason and one reason only... the most important reason of all!

    So I can say
    "It is by will alone that I set my cursor in motion"

  • by PotatoHead ( 12771 ) <doug AT opengeek DOT org> on Thursday January 31, 2002 @05:05PM (#2933380) Homepage Journal
    Just wait until someone discovers that by displaying a shocking image, they can trigger the click.

    Some poor schmuck triggers the wrong thing, gets trapped in the pr0n maze and ends up in the hospital with 'schizoid forced feedback syndrome'.

    After the various lawsuits work their way through the system...

    Someone else will come out with 'web blinders' for the safe calm web experience. No one should surf without them, or Peace of mind is a precious thing, preserving it with Web Blinders is the easiest most effective investment toward your future sanity you can make today.
  • What an honor, to be the first monkey to move a mouse with your mind. Not only that, but all the lady monkey's really like your new high-tech hat [vivisectio...urd.org.uk].

    (Did anybody else wonder why there were no pictures in the article?)

    • I'm sure that after they're done with the experimentation they have to remove the monkey brain and examine it for debilitating side effects. So the monkey doesn't have to live life with a hi-tech hat after all!
  • Does this mean that banner ads will now start urging us to "Think Here!!!!"
  • Take a look at the Cyberlink [officeorganix.com] You wear a headband and control the mouse by thinking. Sounds like the same thing.
  • Philip Kennedy did something similar in 1998 with humans. I witnessed an operation where he implanted an electrode in a monkey over 10 years ago. He also received a 1999 Discover Technical Innovation Award for the same work. Check out: http://www.emory.edu/WHSC/HSNEWS/releases/feb99/02 2399brain.html [emory.edu]
  • Now software engineers will get even less exercise.
  • You mean... (Score:2, Funny)

    by jmv ( 93421 )
    technology that allowed a monkey to control a mouse

    You mean even G.W. Bush will be able to use a computer...
  • Now, I want a combo neural keyboard and mouse. I'll be the faster coder on Earth, and graphic work will be a breeze! Not to mention, when it's time for a little UT break, I'll be dead accurate!

    When this is sufficiently fine tuned and is possible for humans to use safely, I'm gonna have a heyday.

  • Bare with me for just a moment - Anyone read the Quantum Leap books? Beckett used a part of his own brain to help create Ziggy.. to help bridge the gap between sheer computation and human reasoning.. .

    That and this article provoke an interesting thought - can this sort of technology be used to prematurely enable "artificial" intelligence in computers? Think about it: an advanced, organic brain being fed information from digital sources, and those sources of information reacting to the thoughts of the brain. It could enable a monkey to have very advanced visual and auditory inputs... would human-like intelligence come about? This is another form of the question chimpanzee researchers have been asking for ages: What if chimps had the physical ability for something as advanced as vocal speech?

  • Uh oh!
  • How many holes do I need to drill in my skull? and
    Where do I sign up?

    On second thought, forget the first question.

  • Geez, you know... I'm pretty sure I ran into that monkey on IRC the other day.
  • Now people with Lou Gehrig's Disease may also be in danger of catching "CmdrTaco's Disease".

Logic is the chastity belt of the mind!