Someone who's lost a limb could get a smart limb that will sense and function much, or even just like, a natural appendage.
"Think about when Luke Skywalker loses his hand," said Melroy. "He gets a new one and it can feel. It's no different. He can continue to function in all the ways he was used to. The ability to control that new hand with your brain and have seamless sensing in real life? Absolutely, that is coming. That is five to 10 years away."
To make that work, Melroy said, we'll need to be able to communicate with our smart devices without typing on a keyboard or using a mouse. Even spoken commands would be too awkward. We'll need to communicate with our assistants or devices with our thoughts.
According to several researchers, such an advance is not far away.
"The ability to control a robotic arm with just thoughts, with an RF signal and a chip in a woman's brain has already been demonstrated," Melroy said. "It doesn't yet send signals back, but that will happen and it will close that loop. We are just not that far away from this ability to think things. It sounds like magic, but it's all about electrical brain signals."
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