Honda has unveiled a brain machine interface that can be used to control robots by thought.
In a video demonstration of the interface, a man sits in a chair wearing a huge helmet packed with sensors. A few feet away is one of Honda's Asimo robots.
The man is shown a picture of a hand and told to concentrate on it. He does so and a few seconds later the Asimo robot holds up its hands, apparently responding to the thought command from the man in the chair.
The helmet works by measuring the electrical activity
in a person's brain using electroencephalography and cerebral blood flow, using near-infrared spectroscopy. Software then converts this raw data into control information. The researchers say it requires no physical movement whatsoever.
Honda claims the technology has a 90% success rate without any prior training.
Aside from making Asimo dance, Honda also envisions the technology one day being used to dynamically alter the heating in a house, depending on whether the user feels hot or cold. It also suggests car doors opening with nothing more than a thought from the driver.
The helmet is the continuation of research the company began in 2006, which used the huge MRI machines found in hospitals to transmit commands from a user to a robot. In that demonstration participants were able to wiggle a robotic hand.
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