Science fiction stories in which pilots control spacecrafts with their minds have become less about fiction and more science. A team of researchers at the University of Minnesota have developed the next step in thought-controlled vehicles. Watch this model helicopter fly through an obstacle course using brainwaves.
The aircraft’s pilot operates it remotely using a cap of electrodes to detect brainwaves that are translated into commands.
Ultimately, the developers of the mind-controlled copter hope to adapt their technology for directing artificial robotic limbs and other medical devices. Today’s best neural prosthetics require electrodes to be implanted in the body and are thus reserved for quadriplegics and others with disabilities severe enough justify invasive surgery.
"We want to develop something non-invasive that can benefit lots of people, not just a limited number of patients," says Bin He, a biomedical engineer at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, whose new results build on his previous work with a virtual thought-controlled helicopter.
A fascinating note: some would-be pilots could not provide clear thought commands during trial studies. Those candidates who meditated or practiced yoga had better focus and stronger mind-body awareness, allowing them to adapt to the brain-computer interface with less training.
Read the rest of the article at Nature.com.
A father who lost his arm in an accident six years ago has been given a new lease of life by a hi-tech bionic hand which is so precise he can type again. Nigel Ackland, 53, has been fitted with the Terminator-like carbon fibre mechanical hand which he can control with movements in his upper arm. The new bebionic3 myoelectric hand, which is also made from aluminium and alloy knuckles, moves like a real human limb by responding to Nigel’s muscle twitches. Incredibly, the robotic arm is so sensitive it means the father-of-one can touch type on a computer keyboard, peel vegetables, and even dress himself for the first time in six years.
Related videos: prosthetics.
The Helping Hand is a story about Daniel, who is super into dinosaurs, how things are made, and just running around goofing off. Siemens.com is currently showcasing Daniel’s story, by filmmakers Z. Murphy & L. Kranen, about how he also got a custom-made, prosthetic arm to help him do other things like swing a bat and ride a bike.
State-of-the-art computer-aided design (CAD) and engineering (CAE) software, and the awesome biomedical engineers behind those tools, helped to design and build Daniel’s arm!
Josie is a happy little chihuahua who was born with no front legs. Add some inventiveness and you’ve got a happy little chihuahua who can get around on wheels. Perhaps the perfect starter video to introduce the inventions and technologies that can help people (and animals) with different capabilities.