From Amy Ellis Nutt at Washington Post:
For the first time, scientists have helped a paralyzed man experience the sense of touch in his mind-controlled robotic arm.
For the cutting-edge experiment, a collaboration between the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, electrodes smaller than a grain of sand were implanted in the sensory cortex of the man’s brain. The electrodes received signals from a robot arm. When a researcher pressed the fingers of the prosthesis, the man felt the pressure in the fingers of his paralyzed right hand, effectively bypassing his damaged spinal cord.
The results of the experiment, which have been repeated over several months with 30-year-old Nathan Copeland, offer a breakthrough in the restoration of a critical function in people with paralyzed limbs: the ability not just to move those limbs, but to feel them. More.
But who or what is doing the feeling? Is it, in some sense, him? Or did “evolution” breed a sense of reality out of us?
See also: Great physicists on the immateriality of the mind
Dutch government plans to legalize euthanasia for people who are just tired of life. When that crosses the Atlantic, forget research. Health care research depends on the idea that death is bad.
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