Although scientists had worked in some monkeys robotic limbs could move with the mind, these new results represent the first time a person can direct his mind, in a controlled manner, a prosthesis.

"This is a quantum leap towards greater functionality and independence for people who can not move their own arms," says researcher Andrew Schwartz of the University of Pittsburgh. "This technology, which interprets brain signals to guide a robotic arm, has enormous potential to continue to explore."

"As we move forward, we realize that this applies to other types of traumatic brain injury," noted researcher Elizabeth Tyler-Kabara at the University of Pittsburgh. "The people that we can apply this technology could be as wide as it is our imagination."