Apr 9, 2009

Brain control

March 31, 2009 - The research wing of Honda Motor Co. has co-developed a brain-machine interface system that allows a person to control a robot through thought alone. The system, builds on previous work announced three years ago toward a future in which devices might be controlled by thought.

In 2006, Honda and ATR researchers managed to get a robotic hand to move by analyzing brain activity using a large MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scanner like that found in hospitals.

The latest work is a step more advanced and measures the electrical activity in a person's brain using EEG and blood flow within the brain using near-infrared spectroscopy to produce data that is then interpreted into control information. It requires no physical movement.

Both the EEG and NIRS techniques are established, but the analyzing process for the data is new. Honda said the system uses statistical processing of the complex information to distinguish brain activities with high precision without any physical motion. A person visualizes moving a hand yet physically remains completely still, then Honda's Asimo robot, to which the system is hooked-up, raises its right hand. Honda claims a 90% success rate using this method.

Hey, Asimo, get me a beer!