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Public Library of Science
Jamais Cascio, 14 Oct 03
The Public Library of Science -- PLoS -- is a new organization focusing on making scientific literature open and available to the public. Using the Creative Commons license, PLoS journals allow anyone on the Internet to read and reproduce articles for free. PLoS currently publishes two journals, PLoS Biology and (soon) PLoS Medicine.

All very cool, but if reputable scientists and interesting research teams don't use the journals to publish their results, it might take awhile for PLoS to build up any steam. Fortunately, the second issue of PLoS Biology contains an article that has received abundant attention: monkey mind control (warning: 3MB PDF). Researchers at Duke University implanted computer connections into the brains of monkeys, allowing the team to learn the brain signals corresponding to the monkeys using a joystick to control a remote robotic arm. They then disconnected the joystick; the monkeys continued to control the robotic arm via the brain-computer connection. The monkeys quickly realized that they didn't need to move their arms to control the robots. This has obvious implications for adaptive technology for the disabled, and opens the way for more advanced mind-machine interfaces.

The article has received quite a bit of attention in the mainstream media (I mean, how could you not want to learn more about monkey mind control?!?), in turn giving an important boost to the status of open biology movement, and the Public Library of Science.

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