Controlling devices with nothing more than the power of thought seems like something from a Hollywood science fiction blockbuster. However, a team of scientists from the Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Minnesota has accomplished the stuff of science fiction – creating a mind-controlled robotic arm. Moreover, it does not require any kind of invasive surgical process to be implemented. This piece of futuristic gadget was made possible by a crucial breakthrough in brain-computer interface (BCI) and robotics technology.
The robot has a reasonably high level of mobility and a highly usable interface. It allowed a user to track a moving dot on a screen without hassles. The biggest advantage of such a robot is that it does not require any form of surgery, either to attach the arm to the body of an amputee, or even to attach controller electrodes to the brain. Invasive surgeries to the brain are often extremely risky and could sometimes render the patient with some disabilities. The conventional need to insert electrodes in the brain compounds any risks to the patient.
The robot developed by the scientists works by receiving messages through sensors attached to the body of the user, which transmit neural commands to the robotic arm. This innovation has numerous applications in industrial environments and prosthetics. It could be life changing for amputees as well as patients suffering from paralysis.