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Monkey Buisness

Today I came a across an article that really caught my attention: Monkeys grab and feel virtual objects with thoughts alone ( and what this means for the World Cup). The text was about a scientist at Duke University named Miguel Nicolelis who has created an electrode powered headset that allows monkeys to move a virtual arm with their thoughts. The virtual arm allows the monkey to not only grab objects but feel them  as well.  Nicolelis has big plans for this invention. He hopes to further improve it and one day develop the same thing for humans. His far fetch goal is to see a quadriplegic man be able to control his four prosthetic limbs with his brain and deliver the opening kick in the 2014 World Cup. However for now, he’s going to continue experimenting with monkeys. I enjoy the idea of making it so people who have missing limbs can still move but I’m not comfortable with the fact the he’s experimenting on monkeys. I guess I’m a little skeptical after seeing “Rise of the Planet of the Apes”. I just wasn’t comfortable with the fact that by first testing on animals we’re giving them the abilities and knowledge  that humans have yet to posses. The Bible says that humans were given the dominion over the animals so yeah we can test on them but by doing tests such as this I feel like we’re giving them dominion over us.

What do you guys think about this invention? How do you feel about Animal testing? What some other ways we could test?

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. October 19, 2011 at 12:54 pm

    I think this sort of invention has a lot of potential, not just for people who want to be in the world cup, but for soldiers coming back from war injured and no longer having function of limbs or having limbs at all, or for individuals who were born without the ability to walk. I guess I see it more as an advancement in science and in prosthetics rather than a threat with the apes.
    While animal testing is controversial, we do use apes for a reason, the are very similar to us and then we are not subjecting a human to a flawed design. We can prefect the device before it is ever put into a human this way. In my opinion it is better to test the necessary drugs and procedures on animals before people. I see the benefit of testing medicine and life changing procedures on animals or even dissection, where people who want to become doctors can learn on animals.

  2. October 20, 2011 at 7:05 pm

    This sort of technology would be absolutely revolutionary and change so many lives it’s hard to believe it’s not straight out of a movie (I personally can’t help remembering The Foot from the beginning of Inspector Gadget). While it’s always necessary to be humane when testing on animals, one must remember these unequivocal benefits. In psychology, we learned that there are specific guidelines that determine whether animal testing will be permitted. These include:

    1. Clear scientific purpose of research
    2. Research must have significant potential to yield results
    3. The species chosen is appropriate to the research and best suited to answer the questions posed by the research.
    4. Number of specimen required must be minimized
    5. As little pain and/or suffering as feasible

    It is my personal opinion that if these regulations are followed, there is little harm in animal testing. Even under the most dire conditions, one must remember that the loss of certain animals can be outweighed by the technological, pharmacological, and medicinal advances made through this loss. The one contention among most professionals, and where I must agree, is that animals are not able to give informed consent, but I still contend that animal testing when necessary is preferable to human testing of undeveloped products and procedures.

  3. October 21, 2011 at 12:27 am

    I think that this invention is amazing and could be very helpful in the future. About the testing on animals, I have mixed feelings. I love animals and I don’t want to see them put in harms way or suffering, but at the same time I don’t want to use something that hasn’t been tested sufficiently and could have serious risks. The use of animal testing for drugs and medicines I think is necessary because humans need medicine but there are not many people willing to put their life at risk. Of course, this brings up the fact that animals have no say or control and are just manipulated and used by humans. In psychology last year we watched the video that is at the bottom of this comment. It is about Harry Harlow’s study of attachment and security that involved using adorable baby monkeys. For me, throughout the video I watched the poor, sad monkey without a mother and felt so bad for it. However at the end, the video states that the monkey can be reunited with other monkeys and will grow into a normally functionally adult monkey. This fact made me feel better and feel like most scientists probably do their best to to do as little harm as possible. It is a very controversial subject and I am still not sure where I stand, but I wish I could give the benefit of the doubt that scientists who are testing on animals are doing their best to minimize the harm that could occur.

  4. October 21, 2011 at 4:06 pm

    I also agree that scientific testing on animals is a controversial and a very difficult topic to really set standards to, because it really depends on what the experiment is. I had never seen those guidelines that Isabella posted, but they seem to be sufficient in determining whether or not animal testing should be practiced. I do not see animal testing as a way of giving them more power over us, in fact I view it as the complete opposite: we are displaying our power over this. Although I wish there was another way to test out technologies and medicines, I understand that using animals, especially monkeys which are so similar to us, is necessary. After learning about the unsurity of the science community, I’ve realized that experimentation is vital and can often go wrong. I guess if we must experiment, it should be on something other than humans. The technology in the article is very interesting, and would be an amazing invention for people with prosthetic limbs. Thanks for posting it!

  5. October 22, 2011 at 5:59 pm

    That’s pretty cool. Imagine one day, everyone is like Doc Oct or something lol. But this is definitely good for returning soldiers. The advances in prosthetics could make it possible for a soldier who loses his arm, his leg, his head, to continue serving in the military. USA USA USA USA USA!!!

    Seriously now, I’d like a pair of wings. I don’t want to hear it, until I get a pair of wings. I’m so pissed that every time I go from the Ivory Tower to Thurston, I have to walk! In Persian Accent: This is outrage! (No.. THIS IS SPARTA!)

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