Mind Controlled Robots

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John Donoghue, the director of the Institute at Brown University, developed a way for humans to control a robotic limb just by thinking. Using a brain implant, a paralyzed stroke victim directed a robotic arm to accomplish basic tasks. People who lost or could not control their limbs may soon, in the future, be able to regain their liberty of movement.

Donoghue found a way to convert brain signals into a computer code which then maneuvers the robotic arm. This works because neurons in the brain create electric signals. When the neurons are sufficiently tickled by inputs, they fire electrical impulses called spikes. Then, the EEG (electroencephalography) electrodes record the spikes from the outside of the head.

Once the computer have the micro electrode array of the motor cortex, the computer can record the number of spikes. Depending on the number of spikes, the arm will move differently, For example, when you imagine moving right, there will be five spikes. When the computer analyzes there are five spikes, it will command the arm to move to the right. This may seem impossible since the brain has 100 billion neurons.

In the near future, the system could eventually be wireless with implants transmitting signals to a wearable device that could steer the robotic limbs. Using the exoskeleton frame, people without legs or arms may be able to get back to normal again.

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2 responses to “Mind Controlled Robots

  1. That is really cool! I wonder if this technology could be adapted so that it could be like an exoskeleton to put over someone’s arm or leg that has been paralyzed but not lost their limb…

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