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  • This is the VOA Special English Technology Report.

  • Cathy Hutchinson is a tetraplegic.

  • She has not been able to move her arms, legs or speak since suffering a stroke nearly fifteen years ago.

  • Recently, she learned how to control a robotic arm using her thoughts.

  • She now can use brain activity to serve herself a drink.

  • The American woman is one of two people who took part in a research project known as BrainGate2.

  • The researchers have spent years studying how to help people who are paralyzed regain movement in their arms and legs.

  • John Donoghue was part of the project.

  • He is a neuroscientist with Brown University and the Department of Veterans Affairs.

  • He says people who are paralyzed have their brain disconnected from their body.

  • So he and other researchers decided to go around the damaged nervous system.

  • They developed a way to go directly from the brain to the outside world.

  • The two paralyzed people had small sensors connected to the part of the brain that controls movement.

  • The devices measured brain activity and sent that information to a computer.

  • The computer has special software that turns the information into digital commands for operating other devices.

  • The researchers used a highly developed robotic arm to recreate human actions.

  • Scientists from Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School and the German Aerospace Center also took part in the study.

  • The BrainGate team had its first success in two thousand six.

  • A tetraplegic stabbing victim was able to use the brain-computer interface system to control a computer cursor.

  • John Donoghue says the latest development using robotic arms is a major victory.

  • A video of the experiment shows Cathy Hutchinson using such an arm to pick up a cup of coffee.

  • She guides the cup toward her mouth, moves it forward and drinks through a straw.

  • The research team carried out almost two hundred tests with two different robotic arms.

  • The two individuals were able to pick up their target objects forty-three to sixty-six percent of the time.

  • The researchers are calling the information very promising.

  • But they say it will take years to fully develop the technology for everyday use.

  • A report on the BrainGate study appeared in the scientific journal Nature.

  • For VOA Special English, I'm Carolyn Presutti.

  • To read, listen and learn English with our stories, go to

This is the VOA Special English Technology Report.

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