Mind-Reading Robots Coming Ever Closer

If you think with the release of every new i-device the world is getting closer to thought-controlled technology and robotic personal assistants, you might be right.  Thanks in part to work led by the University of Cincinnati's Anca Ralescu, we may be even closer than you realize.

Professor Ralescu's brain-computer interface uses electroencephalography (a measure of the brain's electrical activity) to help distinguish which brain signal corresponds with the body's performance of a particular intended action.

For example, in one experiment a student is asked to sit and stand and vice versa while the student's brain activity and muscle activity is monitored.  Computers process these brain signals and interpret their intent. The idea is to allow a person to use thought alone to communicate with a computer about the intent to move.

"The problem is quite difficult," Ralescu says. "We are experimenting with processing the signal and selecting useful features from it, and designing a classifier capable of distinguishing between the these two transitions -- sitting to standing and standing to sitting."

"The idea of human-centered systems in general, and human-centered robotics in particular, is not new. But to some extent things were just not in place. Some technology or other was either missing or too expensive," Ralescu says. "To my knowledge, there is no formal curriculum in this area in any university. If UC moves forward with creating such a curriculum, it could be among the first of its kind. So UC would be a pioneer in establishing such a curriculum."
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Story Source: The above story is based on materials provided by University of Cincinnati, (2013, November 14). Mind-reading robots coming ever closer. ScienceDaily.

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