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Robots controlled by human thought alone, it’s been a good run all

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Posted by: Andrew Clouther

I don’t want to say I’m terrified by the robot revolution, but I’m terrified by the robot revolution.  I read a headline like “Robots controlled by human thought alone” and my mind goes directly to the opening scene of Terminator 2 with all the human skulls being crushed.  With that disclaimer in place, scientists are making a huge thought to machine breakthrough.

For the first time ever, scientists are able to use functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scans of humans to control the movements of a robot’s body.  If you’re thinking this is some sort of close proximity type thing, you’d be wrong.  Brain scans from Israel are being used to control a robot in France.

The actual science behind this involves researches observing fMRI data such as brain imaging and blood flow.  Through this data, scientists better understand how to control virtual avatars.  This field of research has lead teams to understanding when subjects even consider the basic concepts of moving thus applying it to the controlling of robots.     

The results are remarkable.  There is of course delay, but the robot still worked in real time.  Via a camera on the top of the robot's head, the scientist controlling it with thought could see just how he needed to move around the room.  Through thoughts of moving his right arm, when to turn, using his legs, they moved – just by imagining moving his legs the robot would walk.

This is just the top of the iceberg folk, this team is not stopping; less lag, better response, and even bigger robots are needed.  If they start talking about some secret project by the name of Skynet… I’m officially out.        

I’ve seen the Matrix.

[Gizmodo] via [New Scientist]

Tags: robots, fmri, thought

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