jeudi 26 avril 2012

Scientists Demonstrate Mind-Controlled Robot

Associated Press
(04/24/12) 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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