Network Computing is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Robot Interfaces With Brain

Researchers have developed a new "Brain Machine Interface" that allows robots to decode and act on brain activity in humans.

Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute International (ATR) and Honda Research Institute Japan Co. announced that they developed the BMI so data can be extracted for near real-time operation of a robot without invasive incisions into the head and brain. The breakthrough, demonstrated this week in Tokyo, opens up possibilities for new interfaces between machines and people.

The technology is based on an article called "Decoding the perceptual and subjective contents of the human brain," published by Dr. Yukiyasu Kamitani, a researcher at ATR, in Nature Neuroscience. Dr. Kamitani and his collaborator Dr. Frank Tong were named among 50 Research Leaders in Scientific American.

HRI and ATR took it a step further by developing the theory into a system for robotic control. A Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) machine tracks hemodynamic responses and maps brain activity of a subject moving his or her fingers. A computer program extracts and decodes the specific signals generating the hand movements and transfers the information to a hand-shaped robot, which then simulates the movement within seconds. Researchers reported an 85 percent accuracy rate.

Eventually, the technology could be used for typing, assisting people with disabilities and improving car safety.

  • 1