Researchers from the University of Minnesota have developed a non-invasive brain/computer interface that allows humans to remotely control a robot (in this case, a quadrotor) using only their thoughts. The research team, led by Bin He, Professor of Biomedical Engineering, hopes this technology can one day be used to help people with speech and mobility problems.
According to research team member Karl LaFleur, “If you imagine making a fist with your right hand, it turns the robot to the right. And if you imagine making a fist with both hands, it moves the robot up.”
The beauty of this research is that no implants are required to interface with the system.
Instead, an EEG cap fitted with 64 electrodes is used to transmit the brain’s electric currents to a computer, which then sends the commands via Wi-Fi to the robot. This non-invasive approach to controlling assistive robotic devices is important because, while researchers have had some success using implants to control assistive systems, neural-machine connections tend to degrade over time.
Says Professor He: “We envision this technology will be used to control wheelchairs, artificial limbs or other devices.”
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