A man wearing what looks like a chunky black wristwatch stare at a tiny digital dinosaur leaping over obstacles on a computer screen before him. The man’s hands are motionless, but he’s controlling the dinosaur—with his brain. The device on his wrist is the CTRL-kit, which detects the electrical impulses that travel from the motor neurons down the arm muscles and to the hand almost as soon as a person thinks about a particular movement. “I want machines to do what we want them to do, and I want us to not be enslaved by the machines,” says Thomas Reardon, CEO, and co-founder of CTRL-Labs, the device maker. The hunched-over posture and fumbling keystrokes of the smartphone era represent “a step backward for humanity,” says Reardon, a neuroscientist who, in a past life, led the development of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer. The technology could open up new forms of rehabilitation and access for patients recovering from a stroke or amputation, as well as those with Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and other neurodegenerative conditions, Reardon says.—Corinne Purtill
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