You may feel anything about the legitimacy of academic journals, you should read those thoroughly and see what the content is all about and has other kinds of industrial applications. Miguel Nicolesis from Duke University is reckoned for the research work that utilized the electrode implants to detect intention of motor implants by intercepting the signals sent from hundreds of motor neurons when a monkey used a joystick for moving a particular shape in video games. The same signals were sent to a different robotic arm that copied the same gestures as of the monkey. Once the subject realized the connection it left the joystick and moved the game in a more alert manner.
Apart from reading the thoughts of the monkey Nicolelis has also been carrying out tests to to help paraplegics walk through a combination of various technologies that also includes usage of Virtual Reality training module and the walking device that are provided by the therapists to the patients these days. The technology has a huge scope in medical industry and will definitely be of great use to many helpless and dependent people.
Figure 1: VR and brain machine interface and helping paralytic people to walk
Nicolelis has experimented with prosthetic limbs and robotics for more than 20 years in a row. His recent paper explores the possibilities of using VR and brain machine interface and helping paralytic people on gaining control over their disabled body parts. There were some patients that were able to regain some sensation as well as control over their own muscles right beneath the spinal cord wounds. The amazing combination of VR training and brain-machine interface has a vast potential to reconnect the spinal nerves even for those suffering with the most severe forms of paraplegia. The nerves mostly get silent when that stop receiving any signal from the cortex, however, the team working on this project focused on engaging the plasticity of nervous system and permits to get accustomed with the changes in environment and stimuli.
Given the fact that hundreds and thousands of individuals across the globe suffer with one or the other kind of paralysis every year due to injuries in their spinal cords this research will be a boon for all those compelled to depend over others. Not because it is a technology meant for paraplegics patients, it is a scalable technology that has huge scope of expansion.