A pair of monkeys at the University of Pittsburgh have taken a major step forward in futuristic prosthetics: they can now feed themselves by controlling a robotic arm with their brains. Using primitive brain implants that record activity in the primates' motor cortex, the monkeys showed they could manipulate a robotic arm to pick up marshmallows and other tasty treats.

As Pittsburgh researchers report in this week's issue of the journal Nature, humans have shown in the past that they can move cursors on a screen using a similar brain-machine interface. But by grabbing food and bringing it to their mouths, the monkeys are paving the way towards advanced neuro-prosthetics for people with permanent paralysis. Further down the road, you even could imagine able-bodied people using the technology to manipulate robo-arms or even full exoskeletons with their thoughts.

Source: Nature via PhysOrg

Images: University of Pittsburgh, The New York Times