In a scientific breakthrough a 55-year-old quadriplegic woman has piloted a f-35 fighter jet using only her thoughts. Unlike a fighter pilot who thinks about controlling the plane with a stick, Jan Scheuermann thinks about controlling the plane itself. Scheuermann became paralyzed due to a rare genetic disease, and volunteered for the DARPA robotics program. She was fitted with 2 pea sized implants on her left motor cortex. This allowed her to control both right and left arm prosthetic.
Although this is a victory for prosthetics, and who knows how many veterans, as well as others suffering from the loss of a limb will benefit from this technology; the heart of the research is “Neural Signaling”.
Arati Prabhakar, director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) said the research is far from becoming reality. She also acknowledged that it raises “fundamental moral and ethical questions about the intersection of biology and robotics.”