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. (Read more robot stories.)