Science TED Conferences

7 talks on monkeys, and 7 talks on mind control

Posted by: Kate Torgovnick May

monkey-brainMiguel Nicolelis begins today’s talk by showing you what a brainstorm looks and sounds like.

Miguel Nicolelis: A monkey that controls a robot with its thoughts. No, really.Miguel Nicolelis: A monkey that controls a robot with its thoughts. No, really.

“This is 100 brain cells firing,” says Nicolelis. “Everything that defines what human nature is comes from these storms that roll over the hills and valleys of our brains and define our memories, our beliefs, our feelings, our plans for the future.”

In this talk, given at TEDMed, Nicolelis describes how his team created what they call a “brain machine interface” which uses censors to listen to brainstorms, extract their motor messages, translate them into digital commands and send them to artificial device to reproduce movement. What does this mean? A monkey, named Aurora, whose brainwaves controlled, first, a robotic arm that played video games for her and, next, a human-like avatar six times her size on the other side of the world.

To hear more about how this works, and the implications it could have for those who’ve lost motor function — as well as for us all — watch this mind-bending talk. Here, more talks on monkeys and brain control.

Talks on monkeys:

  1. Isabel Behncke: Evolution’s gift of play, from bonobo apes to humans
  2. Laurie Santos: A monkey economy as irrational as ours
  3. Lauren Brent: Watching monkeys make friends
  4. Frans de Waal: Moral behavior in animals
  5. Susan Savage-Rumbaugh: The gentle genius of bonobos
  6. Spencer Wells builds a family tree for humanity
  7. Jane Goodall helps humans and animals live together

Talks on mind control:

  1. Tan Le: A headset that reads your brain waves
  2. Ariel Garten: Know thyself, with a brain scanner
  3. José del R. Millán: Mind-controlled machines
  4. Daniel Wolpert: The real reason for brains
  5. Rebecca Saxe: How brains make moral judgments
  6. Kwabena Boahen on a computer that works like the brain
  7. Ed Boyden: A light switch for neurons

Comments (5)

  • Pingback: Controlling Monkey Brains and Behavior With Light | bothernews

  • Hugo Almeida commented on Feb 21 2013

    What an amazing information I am a Ted Fan

  • Debra Durham commented on Feb 18 2013

    What great TED playlists to start the week! Thanks.

    I did want to mention one key detail: Not all of the talks on the “7 talks about monkeys” playlist are about monkeys. All the speakers talk about about primates, but not all primates are monkeys.

    For example, bonobos (highlighted in talks #1 and #5) are actually ape, not monkeys. Dr. Goodall goes into great detail about her decades of work with another ape – the chimpanzee – as the foundation of her broader discussion of human-wildlife conflict and conservation. deWaal also focuses on apes (chimpanzees and bonobos), though he mentions other animals as well.

    So with a great playlist to start the week, a taxonomy factoid, too.

    For more detail, there are lots of primate taxonomies on the web, including this one: http://anthro.palomar.edu/primate/table_primates.htm

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  • commented on Feb 18 2013

    Reblogged this on nsdcoding.