Monkey Makes Robot Walk!

Where does this leave the evolution of human bipedalism?  Is there some mystery “bipedal instinct”?  A bipedal “organ” in the brain?  I’ll let you decide… 😉 

Here’s the article.  It’s a great piece about the importance of training, the relevance of a body (build it and the brain will come…), and the management of different tasks by different areas of the brain that work in conjunction.  For the culturally inclined, the study authors argue that for Idoya, the monkey in question, her “motor cortex, where the electrodes were implanted, had started to absorb the representation of the robot’s legs — as if they belonged to Idoya herself.”

3 thoughts on “Monkey Makes Robot Walk!

  1. I highly doubt Idoya has a “bipedal instinct,” but instead possesses an “I like raisins and Cheerios” instinct. I wonder why she was only able to make the robot walk for three minutes after she herself stopped walking. Her brain must have fatigued quickly or forgotten the learned activity, so I’m assuming that with practice she should be able to replicate the walking while standing for an extended period of time. The article and research points to the obvious fact that humans’ technological change has greatly outpaced the biological. With these developments is it that far out of the question to have human brain operated robots? Would they still be considered robots? Definitely an interesting field that will quickly become the forefront of many medical ethics discussions.

  2. The possibility that a person could use thier brain to control an artificial limb is exciting but also a bit scarey. Could a person use thier thoughts to then control the artificial limb of another person if using a brain machine interface? This article brought up questions for me about the difference between reflexes and emotions. Did Idoya look at the robot legs long enough to then begin thinking they were hers and unconciously continue to move them or was she desiring the legs to continue moving in order to receive a treat? The topic of brain operated robots raises questions of personhood with the possiblity that one brain could give rise to multiple robotic “people”. All of this seems very sci-fi yet possible.

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