Thursday, June 14, 2012

Scientists Demonstrate Mind-Controlled Robot

From: Associated Press - 04/24/2012
By: Frank Jordans

Researchers at the Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne have developed
a system that enables paralyzed patients to control a robot using only their
thoughts. The system features a cap that transmits the electrical signals
emitted by the brain, when a user imagines performing a task, to a computer,
where the signal is almost instantly decoded. However, background noise has
emerged as a major challenge in brain-computer interface research, says
Lausanne's Jose Millan. The researchers solved this problem by programming
the system to work in a way similar to the brain's subconscious. Once a
command such as "walk forward" has been sent, the computer will execute it
until it receives a command to stop or the robot encounters an obstacle. This
allows the user to focus on other things instead of always having to focus on
telling the robot to walk forward. The Lausanne team's research appears to
mark an advance in the field, says University of Washington professor Rajesh
Rao, "especially if the system can be used by the paraplegic person outside
the laboratory."

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