Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The First Mind-Controlled Avatar

Real World Avatar Mind Controled Robot Mind Controled Robot Amazing Real World Avatar  Pictures Seen on

Sebastian Anthony reports in "Extreme Tech" that,

An Israeli student has become the first person to meld his mind and movements with a robot surrogate, oravatar. Situated inside an fMRI scanner in Israel, Tirosh Shapira has controlled a humanoid robot some 2000 kilometers (1250 miles) away, at the B├ęziers Technology Institute in France, using just his mind.

The fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) reads his thoughts, a computer translates those thoughts into commands, and then those commands are sent across the internet to the robot in France. The system requires training: On its own, an fMRI can simply see the real-time blood flow in your brain. Training teaches the system that a particular “thought” (blood flow pattern) equates to a certain command. In this case, when Shapira thinks about moving forward or backward, the robot moves forward or backward; when Shapira thinks about moving one of his hands, the robot surrogate turns in that direction.
To complete the loop, the robot has a camera on its head, with the image being displayed in front of Shapira.
This area of research — robot surrogates — is of particular interest for two reasons: a) The military would love to send robots into battle, rather than soldiers, and b) Paralyzed, locked-in, and vegetative people could use robots to interact with the world, effectively replacing their damaged body with a shiny new robot. In recent years, lots of research has shown that many of these people still have perfectly functional brains — it’s just a matter of connecting them up to a working physical body.

Avatar movie scene Mind Controled Robot Amazing Real World Avatar  Pictures Seen on
Both the militaristic and medicinal applications will require a lot more research, though. In this case, an fMRI scanner (a huge and expensive piece of equipment) is used because it’s more accurate than an EEG — but moving forward, improved software might allow the use of an EEG, or perhaps head-mounted fNIRS(functional near-infrared spectroscopy) could be used. On the robotics side of the equation, a lot of work is being done to create robots are remarkably human-like, such as Boston Dynamics’ Petman, Kawada Industries’ HRP-4, and Meka Robotics’ anime head (videos embedded below).
The Rubber Hand Illusion - Horizon: Is Seeing Believing:

"HRP-4" Humanoid Platform For Robotics:

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