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Brain Machine Interface Controls Wheelchair

Brain Machine Interface Controls Wheelchair

Riken use mind-control to steer wheelchairs…

Brain-control seems to be all the rage, and quiet rightly so. For decades the dream of operating devices controlled by the mind was nothing more than science fiction. But now such technology is upon us, the world is beginning to see just how useful mind-controlled brain ‘bots can be.

A new Brain Machine Interface (BMI) developed by the Japanese government research company Riken in collaboration with Toyota, Toyota R and D Labs and Genesis Research Institute – allows a wheelchair user to direct their movements using nothing but their own thoughts.

riken brain controlled electric wheelchair

Riken Brain Machine Interface

The Riken BMI wheelchair utilizes a technology known as electroencephalography (EEG). To ‘drive’ the wheelchair, EEG sensors mounted on the users head pick up brainwaves which are relayed to a laptop and translated into control signals. The signals are then displayed on a screen to give the user visual feedback for ‘efficient operation.’

To power and steer the chair, the user simply has to imaging their movements, left, right, forward, etc; and to stop, a puff of the cheek applies the break.

The whole translation from brainwave to control signals, to visual feedback, takes under 125 milliseconds – a duration beats other BMI systems by ‘several seconds,’ This extremely short latency appears in real-time to human eye.

The company claims that with just three hours of training a day for one week, users can operate the system with 95 percent accuracy.

As you can see from the video the main application of Riken’s new BMI is pretty obvious, but the company noted that the technology is already being extended to read brainwave patterns given off by certain mental states and emotions.

Rivals Honda is also in the midst of developing a BMI to control its famous ASIMO robot. Honda’s BMI also utilizes EEG technology and works in near-real-time.

honda asimo robot brain machine interface


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