Saturday, April 11, 2009

Ghost Arm


So I saw this creepy yet cool blog post on boingboing.net about a woman that has an imaginary 3rd arm that she can apparently SEE and scratch itches... the CRAZY part is that they did an MRI and apparently her brain is reacting as if she actually see and move her 3rd arm..... Oh yeah her imaginary arm cannot penetrate solid objects...

This really throws a monkey wrench in defining reality is....

As an aside.... if we ever make giant robots... this would be a good technology to have. Basically you could control the limbs of the robot by adding virtual arms and legs to your brain. That way you can punch a giant beetle in the face with your robot arm... while you are raising your fist in victory with your real arm. =-)

From the original article
Khateb and his colleagues examined the patient's brain using functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), a tool that allows doctors to see whether the brain is truly stimulated, and to pinpoint where. In this case, the investigations revealed that the woman actually experienced what she described.

Researchers instructed the woman to move her right hand. As expected, the motor cortex and visual processing areas in the left side of her brain became mobilised.

The same effects were observed to a lesser extent when the woman simply imagined moving her right hand. Imaginary movements of the woman's paralysed left hand prompted the same activity in the brain, but on the right side.

But when doctors asked her to move her phantom arm, her brain reacted as though the arm really existed and could be moved. In addition, the patient's visual cortex was also activated, indicating the she actually saw the imaginary limb.

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