Research has been done previously in this area which allowed someone to move a cursor on a screen in a 2D environment however adding an extra dimension adds a huge amount of complexity. Thanks to the DARPA-funded DEKA Arm System the system known as BrainGate2 was able to be experimented with. The video shows the amount of concentration it takes for such a complex movement through 3D space but the real challenge lies in decoding the neural signals picked up by the implant.
Amazingly Cathy was able to repeat the task, taking a sip from the bottle placed on the table in front of her using the robotic arm reading her brain signals, 4 out of 6 attempts. While it’s a long way off being able to control full body robot suits, it is a start and shows the incredible work being done.
While at the moment this technique requires very major and invasive surgery to implement the chip the researches hope to one day replace this with a wireless device able to do the same. They also hope to remove the robotic suit (or arm as it is at this point in time) to allow the paralyzed users to control their own limbs.