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Monkey's Thoughts Make Robot Walk

samzenpus posted more than 6 years ago | from the surrender-now dept.

Robotics 146

geekbits writes "For all those who have at one time or another been too lazy to get up off the couch and go to the fridge and get a beer, heat up some pizza, or change the channel when the remote is missing, we may be one step closer to being able to keep our tushes parked just a little while longer. There may also be some slightly more noble implications here. According to an article in The New York Times, in an experiment at Duke University, a 12-pound, 32-inch monkey made a 200-pound, 5-foot humanoid robot walk on a treadmill using only her brain activity. She was in North Carolina, and the robot was in Japan."

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monkey business (4, Insightful)

seanadams.com (463190) | more than 6 years ago | (#22075118)

Being able to read the monkey's brain sounds like the only innovation here, not making the robot walk. Reading between the lines, it doesn't sound like the monkey is really controlling the robot in any real sense at all.

Several things make me question that. One, why is the robot in north Carolina and the monkey in Japan? It's just for show. Nothing of scientific significance is being demonstrated by that. We all know that internet can connect two gizmos across large distances. The experiment could have been conducted much more simply at one location and made no less effective a point (except to clueless investors maybe).

Secondly, because of the distance, there is a significant delay (TFA says 250ms, about what I might have guessed.) This would seem to preclude the monkey being able to control the robots actuators in any direct sense. I.e. lift thigh, swing lower leg forward, position foot, lower thigh, positioning body over front leg. Walking is a "controlled fall". No way you could issue all those commands 250ms ahead of seeing or feeling their effect. You'd trip and fall.

So, what is the monkey really doing? I doubt if he is even thinking "left, right, left, right" because even that would be hard to coordinate with so much lag.

Finally, why is there a damn robot in the first place? Wouldn't it be much easier to have the commands control a computer animation? You could do that in such a way that the model would look much more interesting to the monkey... it could look like another monkey, a giant walking banana, whatever.

My guess is that they are simply getting a binary command value from the monkey: "walk" or "don't walk". And the whole robot thing is just for effect. I hate to be such a cynic but this looks like showmanship, not science. If that is the case then this is equivalent to the simple video games that have been demonstrated using brain control.

However, I could certainly imagine that the journalist totally failed to understand the experiment and maybe something important was lost in his explanation of it.

Re:monkey business (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22075268)

why is the robot in north Carolina and the monkey in Japan? because monkeys don't carry passports ?, duh

Re:monkey business (4, Funny)

Macrosoft0 (1128625) | more than 6 years ago | (#22075302)

So, what is the monkey really doing? I doubt if he is even thinking "left, right, left, right" because even that would be hard to coordinate with so much lag.
actually, he was most likely thinking "up up down down left right left right B A select start"

Re:monkey business (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 6 years ago | (#22076630)

"select start"? How kind of you to share.

Re:monkey business (1)

stemcel (1074448) | more than 6 years ago | (#22076942)

Nah, real monkeys do it in three.

Re:monkey business (1)

Xiph (723935) | more than 6 years ago | (#22078144)

let me fix that for ya...
Nah, real monkeys do it in a tree

Re:monkey business (5, Interesting)

Reivec (607341) | more than 6 years ago | (#22075364)

I think the distance is easy to explain, and I doubt it was for show. The research seems to originate from Duke. They likely decided they wanted to see if a monkey could control a humanoid robot but making a robot to see so was outside of the scope of what they were trying to do, they are just making the interface. So they searched out some other team making humanoid robots (which Japan seems to have a lot of). It was likely much easier to setup an internet link to connect the two groups as opposed to meeting in the same location. To meet you would have to move a lot of people and a lot of equipment, all of which would be a customs nightmare. Moving monkeys back and forth over international borders probably requires a lot of checks and paperwork and what not, just as I am sure moving research technology does as well, especially something that large.

To sum up, it was a hell of a lot cheaper and faster that way.

Re:monkey business (4, Funny)

TimeTraveler1884 (832874) | more than 6 years ago | (#22075434)

why is the robot in north Carolina and the monkey in Japan?
First of all, the robot was in Japan and the monkey in North Carolina. Because as everyone knows, Japan is the only country with an abundant supply of giant robots [wikipedia.org] .

Re:monkey business (5, Insightful)

Puff_Of_Hot_Air (995689) | more than 6 years ago | (#22075476)

The article is not claiming that the Monkey is directly controling actuators. The monkey is walking, and the signals from it's brain (several hundred neurons), are being used to control the walking motion of the robot. Obviously the processing of monkey neurons response -> robot control is being performed in software specifically tuned to this one monkey with implants. The interesting thing about this experiment is not that they trained a monkey to walk a robot (they didn't), but rather that the monkey was able to keep the robot walking after it had stopped moving itself. This means that all those neurons that the researches are triggering the walking motions from are still going when the monkey thinks about walking but doesn't actually do it. We've known the brain is capable of this for some time, but this is the first experiment I have seen that appears to involve more than a simple "go stop" form of response. If they have tapped enough neurons to control all the actuators required for a robot to walk, then this is news indeed.

Re:monkey business (1)

hitmark (640295) | more than 6 years ago | (#22077720)

i recall reading about a similar experiment using a robot arm, a joystick and a monkey.

at first the monkey controlled the arm using the joystick while a computer did brain reads.

then they turned of the joystick, but let the monkey still have it, and used only the brain signals for control.

iirc, at some point the monkey let go of the joystick and just sat there while the arm kept moving, something that was not planed by the researchers at all. basically the monkey was controlling the arm by thought alone.

now, the real big trick will be for them to get sensory signals back into the brain, as the body feeds a incredible amount of data to the brain on each step taken.

Re:monkey business (4, Informative)

FailedTheTuringTest (937776) | more than 6 years ago | (#22075540)

TFA is not very clear about the most important part of this, but other [informationweek.com] reports [eetimes.com] spell it out more clearly: "The most stunning finding is that when we stopped the treadmill and the monkey ceased to move its legs, it was able to sustain the locomotion of the robot for a few minutes -- just by thinking -- using only the visual feedback of the robot in Japan."

The reason for using a robot rather than an animation is that they wanted to prove that neural signals could actually be used to drive real motors. I also think it's interesting that they worked out how to interpret neural signals in the brain by correlating neural impulses with the monkey's own leg motions, this was not a case of intercepting signals traveling along muscle-control nerves. I agree there seems to be no particular reason other than showmanship to do this intercontinentally, though! And in fact the monkey was able to keep the system working through a 250 ms delay, which is an interesting finding because it means that such systems don't need to respond to controls instantly but can tolerate some delay. However, they didn't really need to be on different continents to test that.

Re:monkey business (2, Insightful)

LaskoVortex (1153471) | more than 6 years ago | (#22075822)

> Several things make me question that. One, why is the robot in north Carolina and the monkey in Japan? It's just for show. Nothing of scientific significance is being demonstrated by that. We all know that internet can connect two gizmos across large distances. The experiment could have been conducted much more simply at one location and made no less effective a point (except to clueless investors maybe).

If you had built a robot in Japan and your friend figured out a way to read a monkeys thoughts in NC, why would you ship one operation to the other location when you can link everything up with wires. Sounds like they saved a lot of money here.

> Secondly, because of the distance, there is a significant delay (TFA says 250ms, about what I might have guessed.) This would seem to preclude the monkey being able to control the robots actuators in any direct sense. I.e. lift thigh, swing lower leg forward, position foot, lower thigh, positioning body over front leg. Walking is a "controlled fall". No way you could issue all those commands 250ms ahead of seeing or feeling their effect. You'd trip and fall.

The conscious information required to generate human walk is tiny in comparison to its complexity at the physical scale. Most movements required for walk are processed between the muscle and the spinal chord and never involve the brain at all. This is called "reflex". It is legitimate to locate the reflex action in the robot when one considers the actual physiology of walking.

> My guess is that they are simply getting a binary command value from the monkey: "walk" or "don't walk". And the whole robot thing is just for effect. I hate to be such a cynic but this looks like showmanship, not science. If that is the case then this is equivalent to the simple video games that have been demonstrated using brain control.

The use of a robot is *proof* of principle. You can not simply model a phenomenon on a computer screen and claim success. We live in a physical world and so we need to perform physical experiments to validate our theories or test our systems. This is why Nobel prizes go to experimentalists as a rule (or at least to the people who acquire funding for the experiments).

Re:monkey business (4, Insightful)

yet another coward (510) | more than 6 years ago | (#22075892)

Being able to read the monkey's brain sounds like the only innovation here, not making the robot walk.

No, reading the monkey's brain has been done many times before. This report is gee-whiz, but nothing in it is very innovative.

So, what is the monkey really doing? I doubt if he is even thinking "left, right, left, right" because even that would be hard to coordinate with so much lag.

When you walk, you don't think "left, right, left, right." A lot of the rhythm generator is accomplished by central pattern generators, many of the ones involved are in the spinal cord. The same way the brain engages the walk routine built into downstream parts of the nervous system, the brain can engage the walk routine built into a Japanese robot.

Finally, why is there a damn robot in the first place?

There is a robot because this group's ultimately goal is to develop neural prosthetics. They have done experiments controlling computer animations, as have quite a few other research groups.

My guess is that they are simply getting a binary command value from the monkey: "walk" or "don't walk".

You have a good point here. How finely grained is the monkey's control of the robot? The article does not tell us. I looked unsuccessfully for a corresponding scientific publication. I hope this study is published soon with more details about how specific and how precise the control really is.

Re:monkey business (1)

jellie (949898) | more than 6 years ago | (#22077422)

Just to add a few points:

Electrophysiology in the monkey (or other animals like cats) has been done for decades. I doubt Miguel Nicolelis [wikipedia.org] was the first to create a neural prosthetic, but he has been very successful at doing so. Some of his publications are listed in that article, and a link to his lab website is there too.

I first heard about him on a rerun of the PBS show "Innovations" that discussed several prosthetics [pbs.org] , including Dobelle's vision prosthetic. The episode aired in 2004, which meant it was produced even earlier than that. At that time, Nicolelis was already able to use a monkey to control a mechanical arm in his lab. To train the monkey to do so, they had him move a joystick into a circle repeatedly. An electrode array was implanted in the monkey's motor cortex, so they could record neural signals. After the monkey was trained, they took away the joystick and the monkey only had to think of making the arm motion to move the joystick into the circle.

Re:monkey business (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22076534)

Did anyone else notice that the robot's feet weren't actually touching the treadmill? What's the point in having a treadmill for the robot? This is all highly suspect.

Re:monkey business (3, Funny)

unbug (1188963) | more than 6 years ago | (#22077164)

One, why is the robot in north Carolina and the monkey in Japan?
Ah, a new joke. I'll have a go. They prefer intelligent design in Carolina and evolution in Japan?

Re:monkey business (1)

foobsr (693224) | more than 6 years ago | (#22077784)

Walking is a "controlled fall"

Not necessarily; depends how much you lean forward and where you (thus) have your center of gravity.

While I agree that the model is considered 'normal' within so called 'Western' societies, it is not the most efficient (IMHO).

CC.

Combination of previous works (2, Interesting)

DrYak (748999) | more than 6 years ago | (#22078588)

This is a combination of previous works.

Monkey mind reading has been done before.
Monkey controlling a robotic arm has been done before too, and as far as I remember, the monkey even got it to the point of controlling the robotic arm without moving herself.
Remote controlling of robots has been done before (trans-atlantic surgery operation, the surgeon operating the robot in the US and the patient being in Europe).
And as pointed by other /.ers, research on walking robot seems so common in Japan that it's probably the second national sport (right after "girls in school uniform fetishism" ^_^ )

What's the point of this study ? Combining all this together.

- It's the first time brain waves are used to control a movement as complicated as walking.
Thus, this is a technical demo that brings closer hopes for paralysed patients. (As a different solution than spinal nerves regrowth).
--> (The previous experiments where robotic-arm only, thus potential application only to amputees).

- It's the first time that brain-waves remote controlling is attempted.
The inputs are much more complex and much more abundant compared to the current joystick-controlled robots.
This technical demo proves that the latency and bandwidth can cope with brainwave-control, although with a lag that maybe won't be short enough for reflex based movements.
But it is still opening interesting possibilities :
Just replace the monkey with a scientist and the treadmill environment with either some dangerous environment or some miniaturised one or a remote place where the scientist expertise is not readily available.
--> Current controls of robots (like the one used in surgery) are joystick based. Although there are still a lot of movement that can easily be performed with such controls, there are some limitation. Natural movement that are mapped to a robot through brainwave control could bring much more agility.
Also a lot of additional things have to be controlled in a surgical robot (camera motions for example). For now they are still controller with the same pair of joystick (because, you see, a surgeon has only 2 hands to hold them) and using a combination of pedals to switch what the inputs are controlling.
With such brainwave-control technology, other movement could be mapped to the camera control (I think head motions could be the most natural ones) leaving the hand motion free to continue controlling the instruments.

So, no there are no revolutionary new technologies involved here.
But its a new combination of technologies that represent a nice step toward very promising applications.

The control was great... (4, Funny)

FalconZero (607567) | more than 6 years ago | (#22075126)

...but the feedback was lousy.

Monkey : Move Foot Forward
600ms later...
Robot : OK....Oh no, I'm falling over, quick move the other foot
600ms later...
Monkey : Move Other Foot Forward
600ms later...
Robot : I can't do that dave, I've fallen over

Although I assume in actuallity they left most of the balance control to the robot end of things; either that or the Monkey was psychic.
(Or more likely they've got a nice low-latency academic link)

Re:The control was great... (1)

fireman sam (662213) | more than 6 years ago | (#22075372)

Looking at the video on the nytimes page, it appeared that the robot was holding no weight with its legs. They were almost swinging loose and being propelled by the tredmil. Also, the damn monkey in the video was animated. I call BS.

Re:The control was great... (1)

FailedTheTuringTest (937776) | more than 6 years ago | (#22075736)

I don't think it's BS, it's just that they've barely figured out how to interpret brain activity (this is very different from tapping in to signals traveling along nerves that lead to muscles) and translate that into signals that can control motors. The robot's legs were just hanging freely, and yes they will have a lot more to do before they can demonstrate balance control.

It's interesting that no actual pictures of the monkey seem to have been published... my theory is that the monkey is in such a wired-up state that pictures would be likely to shock people and the lab would be picketed by animal rights activists.

Re:The control was great... (1)

JanneM (7445) | more than 6 years ago | (#22077994)

Not BS, and yes, it's being run in real time.

But first, you don't show the actual experimental animal, especially when it's in the US. For security as well as PR reasons, few labs accept filming experiments directly. Second, no, the robot isn't balancing. Just getting the actual motor responses is plenty for now (as you guess, the actual feedback can't be done directly since the body and configuration isn't the same; you need to "translate" intention).

But, but... (1)

Valdrax (32670) | more than 6 years ago | (#22075390)

I thought monkey hates technology...

Re:The control was great... (1)

ezzthetic (976321) | more than 6 years ago | (#22077098)

But just imagine how funny it would be if it were narrated by Pete Smith.

Reminds me of the usual... (1, Funny)

JazzyMusicMan (1012801) | more than 6 years ago | (#22075178)

In Soviet Russia, monkey control you!

Re:Reminds me of the usual... (0)

riseoftheindividual (1214958) | more than 6 years ago | (#22075616)

On Slashdot, soviet Russia jokes control YOU!

Movie plot (1)

this great guy (922511) | more than 6 years ago | (#22075644)

Planet-of-the-Apes-in-a-Matrix-world movie plot. Anyone ?

Re:Movie plot (1)

Facetious (710885) | more than 6 years ago | (#22076124)

Rock me, Dr. Morpheus. Oh, never mind.

I for one... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22078648)

I for one welcome our remote monkey robot overlords!

At the risk of being redundant (1)

FoamingToad (904595) | more than 6 years ago | (#22078874)

I for one would like to welcome our monkey-controlled cybernetic overlords.

F_T

Jock Son/ For Big Daddy - m4m - 18 (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22075194)

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reply to: cmdrtaco@slashdot.org

What's newsworth about this? (1)

spineboy (22918) | more than 6 years ago | (#22075200)

What the article fails to stress properly, is that the robot had no other power supply other than the monkeys supercharged thoughts.

SUre controlling the robot with your brain is kind of cool, but when it has no power supply - now that's cool!

corepirate propaganda makes US think/act like (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22075202)

robots &/or monkeys. training many of us that contracting for lifelong unrepayable debt while failing to care for one another is some form of 'success'. let yOUR conscience be yOUR guide. you can be more helpful to each other than you might have imagined. there are still some choices. if they do not suit you, consider the likely results of continuing to follow the corepirate nazi hypenosys story LIEn, whereas anything of relevance is replaced almost instantly with pr ?firm? scriptdead mindphuking propaganda or 'celebrity' trivia 'foam'. meanwhile; don't forget to get a little more oxygen on yOUR brain, & look up in the sky from time to time, starting early in the day. there's lots going on up there.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071229/ap_on_sc/ye_climate_records;_ylt=A0WTcVgednZHP2gB9wms0NUE [yahoo.com]
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20080108/ts_alt_afp/ushealthfrancemortality;_ylt=A9G_RngbRIVHsYAAfCas0NUE [yahoo.com]
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/31/opinion/31mon1.html?em&ex=1199336400&en=c4b5414371631707&ei=5087%0A [nytimes.com]

is it time to get real yet? A LOT of energy is being squandered in attempts to keep US in the dark. in the end (give or take a few 1000 years), the creators will prevail (world without end, etc...), as it has always been. the process of gaining yOUR release from the current hostage situation may not be what you might think it is. butt of course, most of US don't know, or care what a precarious/fatal situation we're in. for example; the insidious attempts by the felonious corepirate nazi execrable to block the suns' light, interfering with a requirement (sunlight) for us to stay healthy/alive. it's likely not good for yOUR health/memories 'else they'd be bragging about it? we're intending for the whoreabully deceptive (they'll do ANYTHING for a bit more monIE/power) felons to give up/fail even further, in attempting to control the 'weather', as well as a # of other things/events.

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dictator style micro management has never worked (for very long). it's an illness. tie that with life0cidal aggression & softwar gangster style bullying, & what do we have? a greed/fear/ego based recipe for disaster. meanwhile, you can help to stop the bleeding (loss of life & limb);

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the bleeding must be stopped before any healing can begin. jailing a couple of corepirate nazi hired goons would send a clear message to the rest of the world from US. any truthful look at the 'scorecard' would reveal that we are a society in decline/deep doo-doo, despite all of the scriptdead pr ?firm? generated drum beating & flag waving propaganda that we are constantly bombarded with. is it time to get real yet? please consider carefully ALL of yOUR other 'options'. the creators will prevail. as it has always been.

corepirate nazi execrable costs outweigh benefits
(Score:-)mynuts won, the king is a fink)
by ourselves on everyday 24/7

as there are no benefits, just more&more death/debt & disruption. fortunately there's an 'army' of light bringers, coming yOUR way. the little ones/innocents must/will be protected. after the big flash, ALL of yOUR imaginary 'borders' may blur a bit? for each of the creators' innocents harmed in any way, there is a debt that must/will be repaid by you/us, as the perpetrators/minions of unprecedented evile, will not be available. 'vote' with (what's left in) yOUR wallet, & by your behaviors. help bring an end to unprecedented evile's manifestation through yOUR owned felonious corepirate nazi glowbull warmongering execrable. some of US should consider ourselves somewhat fortunate to be among those scheduled to survive after the big flash/implementation of the creators' wwwildly popular planet/population rescue initiative/mandate. it's right in the manual, 'world without end', etc.... as we all ?know?, change is inevitable, & denying/ignoring gravity, logic, morality, etc..., is only possible, on a temporary basis. concern about the course of events that will occur should the life0cidal execrable fail to be intervened upon is in order. 'do not be dismayed' (also from the manual). however, it's ok/recommended, to not attempt to live under/accept, fauxking nazi felon greed/fear/ego based pr ?firm? scriptdead mindphuking hypenosys.

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meanwhile, the life0cidal philistines continue on their path of death, debt, & disruption for most of US. gov. bush denies health care for the little ones;

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whilst demanding/extorting billions to paint more targets on the bigger kids;

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& pretending that it isn't happening here;

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all is not lost/forgotten/forgiven

(yOUR elected) president al gore (deciding not to wait for the much anticipated 'lonesome al answers yOUR questions' interview here on /.) continues to attempt to shed some light on yOUR foibles. talk about reverse polarity;

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yet another... (2, Funny)

youthoftoday (975074) | more than 6 years ago | (#22075242)

http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2008/01/14/science/0115-sci-ROBOTa_large.jpg [nytimes.com]

Tell me that graphic didn't come from The Onion.

Re:yet another... (1)

evil agent (918566) | more than 6 years ago | (#22075730)

Hmm, I'm envisioning a movie combining Planet of the Apes and The Terminator. *shivers*

Re:yet another... (2, Interesting)

moosesocks (264553) | more than 6 years ago | (#22075936)

Sadly, real news more and more seems to resemble The Onion these days.

Perhaps even more alarmingly, quite a few of their more outlandish stories have actually come true several years later.

(This [theonion.com] being one of the funniest such stories...)

It would be interesting to know how they mapped it (1)

kcbanner (929309) | more than 6 years ago | (#22075276)

It would be interesting to see how they mapped the neurons -> robot. Something like this:

Neuron Mapping Factor Adjustment(TM):
Direct Neuron Mapping |-------||---| "Thinking about walking patterns" triggers robot walking code.

Re:It would be interesting to know how they mapped (3, Insightful)

megaditto (982598) | more than 6 years ago | (#22075576)

The basic idea is quite simple: start by sampling a whole bunch of neurons (usually a local EEG or fMRI of some sort). Then,

In humans, obtain two recordings (one blank and one while thinking about doing X), then diff the two and map to X'.
In monkeys, also get two recordings (one blank and one while doing X), then diff the two and also map to X', hoping that doing X reads the same as thinking about doing X.

You'd need to repeat these steps a bunch of times to get good signal to noise, and also need several controls (thinking about Y, Z) to make sure the mapping is specific enough. Normally, the technique is just good enough to allow quadriplegics to click buttons and such, but takes lots of effort and patience (and lots of costly equipment).

Re:It would be interesting to know how they mapped (2, Funny)

kcbanner (929309) | more than 6 years ago | (#22075706)

Ah, a mind-diff. Thanks for the info :)

Re:It would be interesting to know how they mapped (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22075818)

So you mean they need to get a woman to do this then? Can you just see a man doing it?

Step 1: Take reading "thinking of nothing" (in reality thinking of banging female researcher)
Step 2: Take reading "thinking of walking" (thinking of banging female researcher on treadmill)
Step 3: Lose funding when you can't explain why the robot keeps doing, ahem - what it is doing

Re:It would be interesting to know how they mapped (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22076086)

Actually, all it does is link brainwave A to Flag 1, wave B to Flag 2, and so on. It doesn't know what you are thinking about in reality as long as the waveform is reasonably unique and can be identified and flagged.

Instead of walking and standing, you could think of goatse and tubgirl. As long as you are consistent, thoughts of goatse will always make the robot walk and tubgirl will make it stop.

Obligatory (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22075292)

I, for one, welcome our new monkey-controlled robot overlords.

Re:Obligatory (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 6 years ago | (#22076420)

I, for one, welcome our new monkey-controlled robot overlords.

In 2000 and again in 2004 they were welcomed.
   

mod 0p (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22075314)

Be 'very pporl7 fucking surprise, from the OpenBSD

Potential applications in the nigger community? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22075342)

Thoughts, Slashdotters?

RON PAUL '08

In the year 5555 (3, Funny)

xirtap (955611) | more than 6 years ago | (#22075388)

Your arms are hanging limp at your sides, your legs got nothing to do. Some machine, doing that for you.

Finally... (1)

xannash (861526) | more than 6 years ago | (#22075396)

A way for all those addicted to MMOs to be even more incapable of doing anything else...

Pretty Pictures (1)

ServerIrv (840609) | more than 6 years ago | (#22075452)

I like how the NYT article includes a video of the robot, but not of the monkey. What they don't want everyone to see is some heavily drugged up monkey with all manner of electrodes protruding out of its brain (possibly exposed). Way to sanitize reality so most people will find it palatable. What's the point of the robot anyway? This essentially seems like a brain mapping exercise. So the the monkey brain could have been mapped to anything, including a simple animation.

Re:Pretty Pictures (2, Informative)

riseoftheindividual (1214958) | more than 6 years ago | (#22075698)

This is a different monkey, but same concept... he doesn't look particularly drugged nor do I see any exposed brain.
http://www.random-good-stuff.com/2007/02/20/video-monkey-controls-robotic-arm-with-mind-beware-of-robot-monkeys/ [random-good-stuff.com]

The point? Proof of concept for investors I would suspect. Tele presence is now much more closer to reality. There will be big money in this stuff down the line. I remember reading a forward looking military report that planned on mind controlled planes in 2020 or something like that, and that's just one application.

Re:Pretty Pictures (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22075890)

Don't you know you've got to shock the monkey?

Re:Pretty Pictures (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22077104)

I remember reading a forward looking military report that planned on mind controlled planes in 2020 or something like that

Google "IMDB Firefox". The idea's been around in pop culture since 1982, so you can imagine how much further back it's been researched by the .mil folks...

Good Clint Eastwood flick. With 25 years of hindsight, it's amazing how much more like the Brezhnev-era USSR our airports and subways have become.

Re:Pretty Pictures (1)

guruevi (827432) | more than 6 years ago | (#22076858)

There are no nerve endings in your brain so your brain won't feel probes sticking in it. The only pain you (or the monkey) might feel is when the skin on the head gets pierced and the vibrations of the drill into the skull and for that there are local anesthetics available.

Yes, I work in brain research.

Don't put your robot under control of a monkey! (4, Funny)

Oktober Sunset (838224) | more than 6 years ago | (#22075474)

I want my robot to do my house work and fetch me beer and food, not hang from the light fitting and throw faeces at me.

Re:Don't put your robot under control of a monkey! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22076056)

If the homework robot you're using is similar to this one, you'll still have to do the thinking yourself!

Re:Don't put your robot under control of a monkey! (1)

Oktober Sunset (838224) | more than 6 years ago | (#22076930)

Thinking about it isn't a problem. I often think about cleaning the house, actually getting up of my butt and doing it is what I want to avoid.

A banana (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22075500)

Fetch me a banana now or I will destroy your planet!!!

This is just the prototype... (1)

virtigex (323685) | more than 6 years ago | (#22075572)

.. for the 500 ft, fire breathing, radioactive robot due to be terrorizing Tokyo in the next Japanese B-Movie.

Re:This is just the prototype... (1)

Torvaun (1040898) | more than 6 years ago | (#22075880)

That is being run by the thoughts of King Kong!

I hope they wore helmets (1)

esocid (946821) | more than 6 years ago | (#22075584)

Those scientists might have gotten hit with whatever could be robot poop.

Monkeys Thoughts Make Robot Walk... You see, (1)

davidsyes (765062) | more than 6 years ago | (#22075682)

I didn't see "Monkey's". Even if I'd seen "Monkeys'", I'd think several monkeys in series, but not in unison/parallel/hive/collective. I'm thinking BORG VINCULUM. As described by one 7of9 (oh, I wish she were mine...)... anyway...

I see an infinite number of monkeys (chimpanzees) and an infinite number of T9-alloy exoskeletons, and I STILL don't see War and Peace. I see WAR and PIECES (of battle-wrecked exoskeletons...

NO, I not am on durgs.

Re:Monkeys Thoughts Make Robot Walk... You see, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22078444)

yes you are

monkey thoughts (4, Informative)

dominious (1077089) | more than 6 years ago | (#22075696)

i was looking at this today: http://sciencehack.com/videos/view/TK1WBA9Xl3c [sciencehack.com]
watch after 0:44, the monkey learnt how to control the robotic arm with its thoughts in order to feed itself:)

m\od do3n (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22075748)

in jocks or chaps All 0ur times have spot when done For little-known End, we need you God, let's fucking an operating system

ROBOTIC MARCHING BAND (1)

Profane MuthaFucka (574406) | more than 6 years ago | (#22075752)

Just one actual guy with a Sousaphone can now control an entire robotic marching band. Won't that be spectacular on 5th Avenue in November?

Feh. (1)

jpellino (202698) | more than 6 years ago | (#22075804)

Call me when you can get a monkey to make Supreme Court appointments.

Oh wait...

Bah! (1)

SlappyBastard (961143) | more than 6 years ago | (#22076542)

Call me when the robot can control the monkey with its android thoughts.

another stupid joke (1)

themushroom (197365) | more than 6 years ago | (#22075876)

...and the poo was flung as far as South Korea.

Surrender is Imminent (1)

Lane Rendell (1163329) | more than 6 years ago | (#22075898)

I for one welcome our new robot-controlling, monkey overlords. And on a serious note, I heard something similar being done about 10 years ago, people could be hooked up to a machine and would use a certain brain pulse or something to move a train around a track.

Yes, but... (3, Funny)

HtR (240250) | more than 6 years ago | (#22075912)

Sounds like a good concept, but I don't understand how to get a monkey on the other side of the world to think about getting me my beer and pizza?

Monkeys makes robot walk? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22075932)

How is this less impressive than George W Bush walking?
He is certainly a monkey and he manages not only to walk but apparently dress himself too!

Walking, Meh. (1)

Ralphus Maximus (594419) | more than 6 years ago | (#22076002)

Let's see those monkeys make the robots fling poo!

Cheers,
RM

Corrected Title (How to Use Apostrophes) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22076196)

Monkeys' Thoughts Make Robot Walk

This isn't that surprising (1)

davmoo (63521) | more than 6 years ago | (#22076402)

We've had a monkey running American government for 7 years now.

Previous Research (1)

oldmanpanda (716466) | more than 6 years ago | (#22076414)

I remember hearing about this information many many years ago, when they had managed to get the monkey to control a robot arm. It seems they are moving up in the world, or, as the poster above states, they are merely programming a robot to walk and a monkey to think "walk." Regardless, the six-year-old article, http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2000/monkeys-1206.html/ [mit.edu] gives some context to what they have been doing.

Obligatory Sealab... (1)

VeteranNoob (1160115) | more than 6 years ago | (#22076432)

Controversy continued on Monday as surgeons successfully transplanted little Jango's brain into a robot monkey body.

Scientists now say human-to-robot brain transplants will be possible within ten years.

On a sad note, however, Jango died late Tuesday after drinking his own urine.

This will have a number of uses (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 6 years ago | (#22076436)

In particular, in dangerous areas, such as Nukes, police incursions, or even on the battle field. Perhaps one of the more interesting ones will be on the moon. THe delay is short enough that a group of ppl can be trained to slow down their reaction and then uses these for doing construction. I suspect that it might even be interesting in space. Want to fix some something on the outside of the ISS or bigelow? Just control the robot from inside.

Give them a remote-controlled plane... (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 6 years ago | (#22076460)

...and monkeys really could fly out of my ass.

Finally settled! Monkey WINS! (1)

ROMRIX (912502) | more than 6 years ago | (#22076496)

Monkeys Thoughts Make Robot Walk.

Well I guess that answered that. Now what about the "Ninja vs Pirate" question?

The robot just wants to kill the monkey (1)

SlappyBastard (961143) | more than 6 years ago | (#22076506)

Robots always crave the blood of those who control them. Monkeys don't get a free ride.

Where can i buy (1)

oloron (1092167) | more than 6 years ago | (#22076904)

an army of these robot monkeys..... :D

Monkey in the Middle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22076906)

The question is whether the link between North Carolina and Japan was compromised by a Monkey in the Middle attack.

Robot Monkey... (2, Funny)

Landshark17 (807664) | more than 6 years ago | (#22076982)

*Yawn* Robot Monkey overlords... something about welcoming... you know the drill. I don't feel like writing it all out.

Monkey Business (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22076996)

A monkey made me type this response by controlling my fingers on the keyboard, so don't blame me.

I for one welcome our new touch-typing simian overlords...

Isn't this how Planet of the Apes started? (1)

Grond (15515) | more than 6 years ago | (#22077086)

So, we already put weapons on robots, and now we're giving the robots to the monkeys. Logically, the next step will be monkey-controlled robots with weapons.

And I thought the holodeck would be the last thing we ever invented...

Sims was right (1)

Nullav (1053766) | more than 6 years ago | (#22077088)

And we are now one step closer to that robot monkey butler!

Monkey Mecha! (1)

jon287 (977520) | more than 6 years ago | (#22077198)

The mind boggles.

Enh (1)

skelly33 (891182) | more than 6 years ago | (#22077224)

Five foot robots are so last year. Now, five assed robots...

Re:Enh (1)

Badgam (1219056) | more than 6 years ago | (#22077314)

I'm on it.

GW is NOT a monkey ... (1)

dltaylor (7510) | more than 6 years ago | (#22077230)

and it's insulting to monkeys to suggest that he is. He is (unfortunately, IMO) a member of the species arrogant enough to call itself "homo sapiens sapiens". In math, one counter-example is enough to disprove a hypothesis. Certainly GW is enough of a counter-example to disprove the intelligence (or wisdom) of the species (which doesn't prevent some, very few, apparently, instances of the species from being intelligent).

Be sure to always mount your scratch monkey (1)

whitehatlurker (867714) | more than 6 years ago | (#22077238)

For some reason this reminds me of this story [edp.org] . Ah yes, the memories. You kids wouldn't understand.

World Robot Dominations (1)

EEPROMS (889169) | more than 6 years ago | (#22077280)

one banana at a time.

Typewriters (1)

TheNucleon (865817) | more than 6 years ago | (#22077408)

A robot? The monkeys are supposed to control typewriters. Once an infinite number of them are thusly connected, and only then, can we finally determine if they will produce all the great books.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infinite_monkey_theorem [wikipedia.org]

1. Clone infinite number of monkeys
2. Use new monkey-brain interface to connect to typewriters
3. Wait for all great books to be written
4. ???
5. Profit!!!

Re:Typewriters (1)

Loibisch (964797) | more than 6 years ago | (#22078084)

Finally we have a chance to make this come true! A Beowulf cluster of Robot-monkeys should be so much more efficient than just running them individually!

Re:Typewriters (1)

simong (32944) | more than 6 years ago | (#22078324)

If you feed them grits, they'll write Natalie Portman's biography.

Hmmmmm..... (1)

IHC Navistar (967161) | more than 6 years ago | (#22077864)

If the robot weighs 200 lbs and is only 5 ft tall, I think the robot is the lazy one. It's about time it got on a treadmill.

You mean swallowing my tongue isn't going to help? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22078174)

Oh noes. You mean swallowing my tongue isn't going to help anymore when the thought police come around??? Don't turn around... oh oh oh

All your banana are belong to us. (1)

iapetus (24050) | more than 6 years ago | (#22078926)

How are you gentlemen!!
All your banana are belong to us.
You are on the way to the complete works of Shakespeare.

I, for one... (1)

bokane (36382) | more than 6 years ago | (#22078942)

I, for one -- banana banana want me banana give now banana -- Jojo, stop i -- GIVE NOW BANANA ME BANANA GIVE.
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