March 14, 2002
Simian Joystick?

Yesterday's Washington Post reported that a lab monkey at Brown has been trained to move a cursor around on a computer screen with the ultimate wireless mouse:

During dozens of trials over several months, the monkey moved the cursor just by thinking and used it to touch dots that appeared on the screen, earning orange juice as a reward, said John Donoghue, chairman of neuroscience at Brown.

Besides giving new hope to Christopher Reeves, this experiment opens up whole new sci-fi horror vistas. (Maybe not new to sci-fi, but new to real life.) On the up side, it looks as if someday we (well, most of us) will be able to type with both hands again, using our eyes and brains to point and click -- no more mismatch between computers designed for three-armed creatures and the primitive two-armers condemned to use them. On the down side, I suspect that some of the more superstitious scientists (they do exist) are already staying after work to play Monkey Ouija.

Posted by Dr. Weevil at March 14, 2002 10:00 PM