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The brain can develop motor memory for prosthetic devices

Narrator:        This is Science Today. They say that practice makes perfect when you're learning a new motor skill, whether it's riding a bike or playing sports, but a University of California, Berkeley study reveals that the brain can develop this motor memory with a prosthetic device, too. Jose Carmena, an assistant professor in the department of engineering and computer sciences, led the study.

Carmena:        The background was pretty much building on previous work in which we showed that monkeys could control a robotic arm to reach and grasp for visual objects just purely by brain commands through a brain machine interface, basically using their neural activity.

Narrator:        Their study, which is in the field of brain-machine interfaces, addresses a fundamental question about whether the brain can establish a stable, neural map of a motor task to make the control of an artificial limb more intuitive and natural.

Carmena:        Eventually in the future, we would like to think of a prosthetic control in a way that's automatic, that's natural - the same way I move my arms when I'm talking - you do it in an automatic way.

Narrator:        For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.