The technology enabling the control of a computer using only the mind, as explored in the film The Matrix, is taking big steps towards reality with the announcement of five quadriplegics taking part in trials on a new brain-computer interface.

A Massachusetts company called Cyberkinetics has already trained monkeys to control a cursor using thought and now they are seeking permission to develop the system on humans.

The test patients will use a 2mm x 2mm chip which will connect to the brain via neurons in the motor cortex, part of the brain located just above the right ear. Received signals will be digitised and then translated by a computer.