Technology that allows computers and even mechanical devices to be controlled by thought is advancing at a remarkable pace. The latest development comes out of the University of Pittsburgh , where a woman with quadriplegia has been able to control a robotic hand via her thoughts, an implanted electrode grid, and an algorithm that translates her brain signals into movement of the hand.

We are just beginning to learn how to tap into the synaptic pathways of the brain and translate neuronal signals into electromechanical ones. As our knowledge increases, brain-computer interfaces will be refined and made more powerful, accurate and convenient. Rather than implanted electrodes, signal capture devices will be non-invasive.

Once science fiction, the capability to manipulate our environment with our minds could be a near-term reality.