backtop


Print 8 comment(s) - last by pertsa.. on Feb 17 at 7:25 AM

Research sheds light on though control for prosthetics and other devices

Controlling devices with thoughts isn’t exactly mainstream science today, but in the future that may not be the case. There is lots of research in using thoughts and imagined movements to control items ranging from prosthetic limbs to the cursor on your computer screen.

There have been some thought-controlled items developed already. Memory and gaming peripheral company OCZ unveiled its $300 thought-controlled mouse peripheral in 2008 that was intended to allow gamers to control actions on screen by thinking about them. In addition, Honda has developed a robot that can be controlled by thought alone.

Medical researchers at the University of Washington have published the findings of research they conducted looking at how brain signals can be used to control keyboards, robots, and prosthetic devices. The study connected participants to a computer to see how well the brain can adapt to controlling devices with thought. The team found that not only can the brain control a computer cursor with thought, but the process may be beneficial for the brain as well.

Lead paper author Kai Miller said, "Bodybuilders get muscles that are larger than normal by lifting weights. We get brain activity that's larger than normal by interacting with brain-computer interfaces. By using these interfaces, patients create super-active populations of brain cells."

The study connected patients waiting to undergo surgery for epilepsy to a computer with electrodes and showed that while watching a cursor on a computer screen respond to though the signals in the brain become stronger than those generated in daily life. The researchers say that the finding shows promise to helping to rehab people after a stroke or other neurological damage.

The study included eight patients that were at two hospitals in Seattle. Each patient was connected to a computer by electrodes that were attached to the surface of their brains in the days leading up to surgery for epilepsy.

Miller said, "A lot of the studies in this field are in non-human primates. But how do you ask an animal to imagine doing something? We don't even know that they can."

Once the participants were connected to the computer the researchers recorded brain patterns when the subject clinched and unclenched a fist, stuck out their tongue, shrugged their shoulder, and said the word "move". After those readings were recorded, the team recorded brain patterns when the participants imagined performing the same actions. The patterns recorded were similar to those when the action was actually performed, but were much weaker.

The team finally recorded signals as the patients imagined performing the actions while watching a cursor on screen that was moved by their brain signals. The team found that after less than 10 minutes of practice, the brain signals from imagined movement were significantly stronger than the ones created by actually doing the movements.

"People have been looking at imagined movements as a way to control computers for a long time. This study provides a glimpse of the underlying neural machinery," said co-author Rajesh Rao, a UW associate professor of computer science and engineering who is Miller's neuroscience dissertation advisor.

Participants reported that after less than 10 minutes of training they could control the cursor by simply thinking about moving it rather than imagining moving a body part. The findings may one day lead to better control of computers for the disabled and prosthetic limbs among other things.



Comments     Threshold


This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

Brain controlled multi touch screen!
By medys on 2/16/2010 12:42:31 PM , Rating: 1
Now make a brain controlled multi touch screen that is faster than my hand and I'll pay for it 300$

Imagine shooter game controlled by it :D




RE: Brain controlled multi touch screen!
By TSS on 2/16/2010 1:18:09 PM , Rating: 3
I'm thinking this'll have some horrible long term effects on the brain. Not to mention cause everybody who gets it to immidiantly be an social outcase because they think much faster then everybody else.

Overclocking your CPU will shorten it's lifespan... And i'm not wearing a tinfoil hat with cooling liquid.


RE: Brain controlled multi touch screen!
By Jedi2155 on 2/16/2010 3:12:24 PM , Rating: 2
I think I already am suffering the effects of massive multi-tasking in my childhood due to my massive ADD now. Really difficult to focus on a single task for myself.


By Smartless on 2/16/2010 3:38:27 PM , Rating: 3
Clear your mind you must,if you are to discover the real villains behind this plot.


By karkas on 2/16/2010 7:17:52 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I'm thinking this'll have some horrible long term effects on the brain. Not to mention cause everybody who gets it to immidiantly be an social outcase because they think much faster then everybody else. Overclocking your CPU will shorten it's lifespan... And i'm not wearing a tinfoil hat with cooling liquid.


How? Is studying bad for your brain? Of course not. This is the same thing. Plenty of studies show that people who live mentally stimulating lives live longer and enjoy good mental health longer than those who live mentally sedentary lives.

Working out any part of your body/mind will lead to it rising to the challenge and doing that task more efficiently, which ultimately leads to a higher ceiling in that ability.


RE: Brain controlled multi touch screen!
By MisterMystery on 2/17/2010 2:39:48 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Overclocking your CPU will shorten it's lifespan... And i'm not wearing a tinfoil hat with cooling liquid.

This is a seriously weak analogy as research shows the average human currently uses less than 10% of his/her brain's processing power at any given moment. Increasing our ability to unlock and use the full potential of our minds will only continue our progress and evolution.
By your logic exercising the heart, the bicep, or any other muscle, would shorten the life of that muscle... which we know to be false.


By pertsa on 2/17/2010 7:25:22 AM , Rating: 2
Is this 10% myth still going around? Well, in typical fMRI images this might appear to be true. However, only the brain activity of interest regarding the purpose of the study is shown, while baseline activity is not.

Google "brain myths" for more information.


Was this a long term test?
By someguy123 on 2/16/2010 1:33:27 PM , Rating: 2
Seems to me that this is just caused by the brain attempting to understand a new concept. I'd be interested in seeing if this still occurred after a patient had become used to the input system.




"Spreading the rumors, it's very easy because the people who write about Apple want that story, and you can claim its credible because you spoke to someone at Apple." -- Investment guru Jim Cramer

Related Articles













botimage
Copyright 2014 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki