THE MIND-READING ROBOT

  Honda Motor and the Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute International (ATR) have jointly developed new technology that enables a robot to mimic the movements of a person by reading the patterns of activity in the person’s brain. Clench your fist, and the robot does the same; hold two fingers up, and the robot does likewise. Researchers in the West have already developed technology in which devices can be operated by implanting electrodes in the brain or controlling blood flow through special exercises, but this is the first system in the world to achieve robotic movement using changes in the natural blood flow caused by brain activity.

Potential for Use in Electric Wheelchairs
Aiming to develop a robot whose movements are entirely controlled by human thought, Honda plans to apply this latest innovation to its bipedal robot ASIMO. The company hopes to produce a robot that helps people in their daily lives within five to ten years.

The ability to control a machine simply through the power of thought could have positive implications for severely disabled or elderly people. Such technology would enable the development of electric wheelchairs and other assistive devices that could be controlled through signals from the brain, circumventing the need for manual controls.

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