Researchers develop EEG-based, non-invasive robotic arm that converts thoughts into action
A team of researchers from the University of Minnesota have achieved a breakthrough success in the field of prosthesis by developing a non-invasive technology that doesn’t require any implant to transmit brain-signals. The researchers have developed EEG-based robotic arm that a subject can control through thoughts. As per a study published in Scientific Reports, an electroencephalography (EEG) based brain-computer interface can record even weak electrical singles in the brain of the subject. The set-up includes a specialized EEG cap that houses 64 electrodes. The cap processes the signals to transmit it to the robotic arm to grasp or move a subject to specific direction.
They conducted tests on the subjects who were given the task to move the robotic arm via thoughts to grab and displace objects. The team recorded 80 percent success ratio when it came to grasp and 70 percent in displacing the objects from one shelve to another.
This is the first time in the world that people can operate a robotic arm to reach and grasp objects in a complex 3D environment using only their thoughts without a brain implant. Just by imagining moving their arms, they were able to move the robotic arm,
said leading researcher Bin He.
Mr. He has been working on invasive technique in which he was using a neuromuscular electrical stimulation through a brain implant. However, later he studied non-invasive technology in which he tested whether people can fly a quadcopter just by thinking about it.
Three years ago, we weren’t sure moving a more complex robotic arm to grasp and move objects using this brain-computer interface technology could ever be achieved,
The invention is likely to prove a milestone for millions of people left with no choice but compromising with quality of life they live. Moreover, it cuts the cost, need of surgery, and time. Also, this sounds like future of how human interact with machines.