University of Washington researchers are developing brain-computer interface (BCI) technology by teaching robots new skills using only brain signals. The researchers, led by Washington professor Rajesh Rao, began by programming a humanoid robot with simple behaviors that users could select with a wearable electroencephalogram (EEG) cap, which detects brain activity. The researchers are developing a hierarchical BCI for controlling the robot to emulate human thought and decision making. "The resulting system is both adaptive and hierarchical—adaptive because it learns from the user and hierarchical because new commands can be composed as sequences of previously learned commands," Rao says.
Other research groups also are developing thought-controlled robots. Honda researchers recently demonstrated a robot that can lift an arm or a leg through signals sent wirelessly from a system operated by a user wearing an EEG cap. University of Zaragoza scientists are working on creating robotic wheelchairs that can be manipulated by thought. "It does make good sense to teach the robot a growing set of higher-level tasks and then be able to call upon them without having to describe them in detail every time," says Tufts University professor Robert Jacob.
From BBC News
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