Mind-Controlled Robot To Help Paralyzed Patients
Researchers at Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (Switzerland) have demonstrated a partially paralyzed person’s ability to control a robot by thought alone. The robot equipped with a camera, screen and a microphone can help immobilized users extend their virtual presence to any location. The system, requiring no invasive neural implants, but just an EEG cap, can transmit electrical signals via a laptop to a robot (that at the time of the experiment was situated over 50 miles away) which will move accordingly. However, the invention has an impediment, as a need for extended periods of extreme concentration presented a challenge to the patients. To help moderate a wandering mind, the team programmed the computer to interpret thought in a mechanical-like, precise manner. For example, when a command like ‘move my left hand’ was issued by the patient, the computer is to perform it until meeting an obstacle or receiving a command to stop.