Read More: BBC News
Imagine being able to make a machine do your bidding with your thoughts alone, no button pressing, typing, screen tapping or fumbling with remote controls, just brain power. Well, this sci-fi scenario could be closer to reality than you think. Bill Kochevar's life was changed, seemingly irrevocably, when he was paralysed from the shoulders down following a cycling accident nearly a decade ago. His future looked bleak. But last year he was fitted with a brain-computer interface, or BCI, that enabled him to move his arm and hand for the first time in eight years. Sensors were implanted in his brain, then over a four-month period Mr Kochevar trained the system by thinking about specific movements, such as turning his wrist or gripping something. The sensors effectively learned which bits of the brain fired up - and in what sequence - for each movement. Then, when 36 muscle-stimulating electrodes were implanted into his arm and hand, he was able to control its movements simply by thinking about what he wanted to do. Within weeks, he could feed himself again. "This research has enhanced my ability to be able to do things," he told the BBC last year. Research teams are also working on mind-controlled wheelchairs, and on using sensors to allow people who are completely paralysed to give yes-and-no answers through the power of thought.