Using monkeys as test subjects, researchers from Duke University Medical Center are laying down the foundation for a new class of brain-controlled, touch-sensitive prosthetic limbs.

A series of experiments showed that monkeys can use their thoughts to control a virtual arm and select a target based on its texture. Microwave implants embedded in the cortex handled the two-way exchange between the monkey's brain and the virtual hand. The researchers hope that this breakthrough could lead to the development of prosthetic limbs that can sense their environment and respond via brain control just like a normal limb. [Technology Review]