Working with the Australian army, researchers at the University of Technology at Sydney have developed a way for humans to control robots through brainwaves.
The engineers developed special sensors—combining silicon with a special graphene-based material—that rest in contact with the rear of a person’s scalp, over the brain’s visual cortex.
The person also wears an augmented-reality lens that displays a grid of white squares that flicker.
The person looks at a particular square, creating a signature pattern of brainwaves the sensors detect. A computer algorithm then translates the messages from the sensors into a command for a robot.
Being army tech, the sensors are hardy and don’t lose capacity under harsh conditions.
The graphene-silicon compound also resists corrosion and can be used dry against the skin. Some sensors, such as ultrasound, need a gel between the sensor and skin to amplify or clarify signals from the body.
In tests, trained users were able to issue nine commands to a robotic dog in two seconds, the developers reported, with accuracy of as much as 94 percent.
TRENDPOST: The brain-reading technology also can be used by people who are paralyzed to control wheelchairs and other service devices.
The Australian work builds on technology explored in the 1980s by the U.S. Air Force at Wright-Patterson air base in Ohio.