Meet the Robot You Control With Your Mind

Paralyzed people could soon have robot avatars
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 25, 2012 5:00 PM CDT
Mark-Andre Duc, a partially tetraplegic patient, is seen on a laptop screen as he talks to scientists in Switzerland's Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, Switzerland, April 24, 2012.   (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)
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(Newser) – It sounds like an idea out of science fiction: Paralyzed people using mind-controlled robot bodies to interact with the world. But a team of Swiss scientists yesterday demonstrated a robot that could do just that. They tapped into the brain of partial quadriplegic Mark-Andre Duc, who was in a hospital 60 miles away, the AP reports. A laptop decoded the electrical signals his brain was emitting almost instantaneously, then transmitted his commands to the bot.

While mind-control systems have been in the works for a while, the new system is a major advancement because it allows patients to operate the robot almost subconsciously. If told, for example, to move forward, the robot will continue until commanded to stop; previous systems required constant concentration.

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