The brain performs both functions: It carries information inside and sends signals to the rest of the body, telling it to do so. Even a seemingly simple movement like holding a cup invites your brain to fully control your muscles listen to the nerves of your fingers.
Because Copeland’s brain was not injured in the accident, he was able to – in control – monitor this discussion and its outcome. But most of the electrical signals from his body’s nerves do not reach the brain. When the Pittsburgh team hired him to study, they wanted to do a job job. It is believed that the paralyzed human brain could stimulate the robot’s arm and be stimulated by electronic signals from there, eventually releasing the stimulus as a sensation felt by their hand. The challenge was to make everything sound natural. The arm of the robot has to bend while Copeland wants it to twist; the hand should close when he wants to touch; and when the pink of a robot touches a solid object, Copeland has to feel in its pinkie.
Of the four electrical implants implanted in the Copeland brain, two grids calculate the movement from its motor cortex to summon the robotic arm, and two grids enhance its robust system. From the outset, the research team is aware that they can use BCI to generate Copeland interest by simply providing electricity to those electrons – no real touch or proper robots.
To design the system, researchers took advantage of Copeland’s ability to retain its right thumb, forefinger, and middle finger. The researchers removed Q’s tip while sitting on a magnetic scanner, and they discovered a type of brain similar to those of the fingers. The researchers altered their motives for recording brain events from each electrode as they considered their movement. And when he changed the technology of some of his mental systems, he heard. To him, the emotion seems to come from under his fingers, near the top of his right hand. It can feel like natural stress or heat, or feel a strange cry — but they have never felt any pain. “I just stared at my hand as this was happening like, ‘Man, who feels like someone can hunt right away,’ ‘Copeland says.
Realizing that Copeland was capable of hearing this, and that the researchers identified areas of the brain that could make them feel in his hands, the next step was for Copeland to use the robot arm’s control. He and the research team set up a training room in the lab, and hung placards of Pac Man and memes in the park. Three days a week, the researcher is able to connect the connector with the electrodes in his head to the cable and computers, then give him time to touch the blocks and circles, and move it from left to right. For a number of years, he lived very well. He even showed the plan President Barack Obama.
But, says Collinger, “He seemed to jump on his bandwagon.” A person without limbs needs about five seconds to complete a movement. Copeland can sometimes do this in six seconds, but his median time was about 20.
To get to that point, it was time to try to get him a real answer from the robot’s hands.
Human fingers are sensitive to stress, and electronic signals are the result of zipper connected by threads from the hands to the brain. The team demonstrates this process by placing sensors on robotic legs. But things don’t always affect the hands, which is why a reliable signal has to come from somewhere else: the sensors are at the bottom of the numbers.