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June 3, 2010 12:47 PM   Subscribe

Advanced Robotic Arm Controlled by Monkey's Thoughts From PhysOrg: Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh have demonstrated a monkey controlling an advanced robotic arm by using its thoughts ... (Direct links to the embedded video here and here).
posted by kanewai (23 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
Just the monkey that BP needs.
posted by Babblesort at 12:48 PM on June 3, 2010 [4 favorites]


Two year old double.
posted by jedicus at 12:51 PM on June 3, 2010


I love in the first video how they cover up the top of monkey's head where they basically chopped his scalp off so they could insert electrodes into his brain. Fun experiment eh?
posted by ReeMonster at 12:52 PM on June 3, 2010


Ah, never mind, I see that part of the post is the old material and part of it is the same idea with a fancier robotic arm.
posted by jedicus at 12:53 PM on June 3, 2010


If I had infinite monkeys with infinite advanced robotic arm controllers would one of them pick up a skull and exclaim how it knew it so well?
posted by Elmore at 12:57 PM on June 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


or would it use that robotic arm to throw shit at me?
posted by Elmore at 12:58 PM on June 3, 2010


Why do we insist on arming the monkeys?
posted by The Whelk at 1:03 PM on June 3, 2010


I don't know if any of you people have noticed but over the past ten years or so we have gone from RC cars and hook-hand prosthetics to advanced hunter/killer droids with prototype neural-net mind/machine interfaces.

And still no hovercars. Christ.
posted by Avenger at 1:12 PM on June 3, 2010


I came in here expecting to read about Davy Jones's new technique for playing the tambourine.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:14 PM on June 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


One day, soon, we will all know the simple joy of a cyborg monkey knife fight.
posted by entropicamericana at 1:17 PM on June 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yeah but if you just think about it hard enough you could have a hovercar with this technology!
posted by Babblesort at 1:25 PM on June 3, 2010


obligatory: YOU MANIACS! YOU BLEW IT UP! DAMN YOU! GOD DAMN YOU ALL TO HELL!
posted by King Bee at 1:47 PM on June 3, 2010


Oh, just wait till I hook one of these things to the fish tank.
posted by bicyclefish at 2:06 PM on June 3, 2010


The Whelk : Why do we insist on arming the monkeys?

Seriously. I want to know when we are going to start arming bears, that makes way more sense to me.
posted by quin at 2:18 PM on June 3, 2010


I agree, quin. They do have the right don't they?
posted by Atreides at 3:33 PM on June 3, 2010


ARMED BEARS.


that's like a Texas militia/sex club thing right?
posted by The Whelk at 4:01 PM on June 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


ARMED BEARS.
that's like a Texas militia/sex club thing right?
posted by The Whelk at 4:01 PM on 6/3
[+] [!]


AKA the Texas Young Republicans.
posted by Avenger at 4:37 PM on June 3, 2010


Texas Young Log Cabin Republicans, maybe.
posted by amber_dale at 5:59 PM on June 3, 2010


ARMED BEARS.

..then they took away our right to bear arms,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a bear..
posted by hanoixan at 12:13 AM on June 4, 2010


It's funny how this post has like, a measly number of responses and nearly ALL of them are making some sort of wise-crack.. when just the other day, a post about the bull who gored a guy's face had hundreds of self-righteous responses about animal torture. The monkeys in these videos are having their brains literally poked and prodded with electrodes and yet everyone finds humor in it.
posted by ReeMonster at 12:27 AM on June 4, 2010


Because having a robotic arm you can control with your mind is cooler than getting stabbed to death?
posted by Zalzidrax at 1:03 AM on June 4, 2010


The monkeys in these videos are having their brains literally poked and prodded with electrodes and yet everyone finds humor in it.

Well, first off, animal research (particularly primate research) has a lot of safeguards and ethical review processes designed to ensure that the animals are treated humanely. Second, the brain itself doesn't have pain receptors, so it's not as torturous for the monkey as you might think. Third, there's at least a credible argument to be made that this research will lead to massive quality of life improvements for paralyzed humans (and indeed potentially paralyzed animals), so the monkey's sacrifice, while involuntary, will reap tremendous benefits for many people. Finally, it's a relatively trivial point, but you'll note that the monkey is using the arm to feed itself, so it does get something for its trouble.

Compare this to the bull fighting: no safeguards or ethical review process, the bull most certainly does feel tremendous pain, the fight has no benefit over humane slaughter except entertainment (and it's arguable that the entertainment in question is outweighed by the glorification of animal torture), there are no long term benefits for humanity or animals, and the bull gets nothing out of the ordeal: it will be killed even it wounds or kills the matador.

So, yes, while it might be better to invest a little more solemnity into our consideration of the involuntary sacrifices made by the monkey in question, this is far, far removed from bull fighting.
posted by jedicus at 9:38 AM on June 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Never mind that where's my frikkin sharks with frikkin lasers?
posted by Gungho at 10:44 AM on June 4, 2010


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