Now, by implanting electrodes into both the motor and the sensory areas of the brain, researchers have created a virtual prosthetic hand that monkeys control using only their minds, and that enables them to feel virtual textures. Using the first set, the monkey could control a virtual monkey arm on a computer screen and sweep the hand over virtual disks with different textures. By giving the monkey rewards when it identified the right texture, the researchers discovered that it took as few as four training sessions for the animal to consistently distinguish the textures from one another, even when the researchers switched the order of the visually identical disks on the screen. Although the monkeys are all adults, the motor and sensory regions of their brains are amazingly plastic, Nicolelis says: the combination of seeing an appendage that they control and feeling a physical touch tricks them into thinking that the virtual appendage is their own within minutes.
Categorization (need >= 0.5 to match):