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Thought-controlled Asimo   (Source: Honda)
Honda's ASIMO continues development, showing great promise

Honda has created a new robotic technology that allows users to control robots by human thought alone.  Previous robotic systems required physical interaction or control, but the Brain Machine Interface, BMI, marks the first thought controlled system to be introduced.

Honda is working with Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute and Shimadzu -- the trio of companies is working to continue perfecting the system so it can be used with other robotic systems.  Honda's system uses electroencephalography (EFG), a technology designed to measure electrical potential on the human scalp, alongside near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS), which is the ability to measure cerebral blood flow changes in the human brain.  

Once the information has been collected, ASIMO, the human-shaped robot, then carries out the task it has been given.  Honda showed a video clip of a participant wearing a special helmet, and each time the person thought about moving a right or left hand, ASIMO moved the appropriate hand.

The new system has seen a 90.6 percent success rate to date, which is reportedly the new record among BMI technology, according to reports.

"By only imagining moving their right hand, for example, a test person can move ASIMO's right hand," Honda Research Institute Japan scientist Tatsuya Okabe said.  "The accuracy of a movement depends on the test person and whether that person is good at concentrating."

The company didn't show a live demonstration of the technology, citing the fact that a person's thinking could be distracted if they don't have strong concentration.  Furthermore, Honda needs two to three hours to study participants prior to the technology working properly

Honda is best known as an automotive manufacturer, but has invested a heavy amount of funds into research and development of robotic technology.  The company has several prominent robots that it has displayed to the public, although nothing has been released to the consumer market as of yet.

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Horrible news...
By Bender 123 on 4/6/2009 8:52:44 AM , Rating: 5
Now HAL 9000 won't need to read your lips, it can read your mind!!!

"Don't lie to me, Dave, I can see you want to shut me down..."

RE: Horrible news...
By tmouse on 4/6/2009 9:12:45 AM , Rating: 4
Got to control your thoughts... not the time to think scr#w the boss. In the background you hear Asimov WHAT ARE YOU DOING?? .... BAD ROBOT!!!

RE: Horrible news...
By Brandon Hill on 4/6/2009 9:23:54 AM , Rating: 3
All I can think of right now is Family Guy's "interpretation" of Steven Hawking.

*computer voice* "I would be able to make sweet talk with the ladies. Oh yes. Oh yes. Hit it right there. Spit in my mouth."

RE: Horrible news...
By cheetah2k on 4/6/2009 9:27:45 PM , Rating: 2

Hmmmmm, the power of thought! Not sure why the Japanese didnt think of this earlier!! To be honest, this robot would make an awesome pub companion!

You could be in the pub with the robot sipping on a pint of the good stuff & dreaming about all the babes on show, when inadvertantly, it could take one for the team, have a bit of a feel, and take a few the slaps on the chin :-D

It could also get me some more beer when my glass was getting low

RE: Horrible news...
By Chocobollz on 4/7/2009 4:49:03 AM , Rating: 2
Ok, don't tell me you want to go to a pub with that "thing" on your head LOL.

RE: Horrible news...
By FITCamaro on 4/6/2009 9:34:36 AM , Rating: 3
I want the AWESOME-O 5000.

RE: Horrible news...
By Brandon Hill on 4/6/2009 9:36:40 AM , Rating: 2
"Are you a... pleasure model?"

RE: Horrible news...
By EricMartello on 4/6/2009 1:36:34 PM , Rating: 3
That's right, when they start making these robots look more like Summer Glau instead of a 1980s cartoon I'll actually care. :)

RE: Horrible news...
By 4runnerxp on 4/6/2009 2:16:13 PM , Rating: 2
I guess honda eventually thinks we will all become newtypes like in the gundam anime series.

RE: Horrible news...
By nugundam93 on 4/7/2009 1:25:49 PM , Rating: 2
oh yes psycoframe ftw! :)

Just the hands?
By curryj02 on 4/6/2009 8:57:20 AM , Rating: 2
So from what I can gather from this article they have only figured out how to control the hands through mental interface? what about something like walking? I would have figured this isn't an impossible task considering that OCZ already has the brain controller for FPS games where you can control all movement.

All in all its still an impressive progression towards terminatoresque robots.

RE: Just the hands?
By smackababy on 4/6/2009 9:09:08 AM , Rating: 2
Now, he will know of you've seen this boy.

RE: Just the hands?
By FITCamaro on 4/6/09, Rating: 0
RE: Just the hands?
By TxJeepers on 4/6/2009 12:33:16 PM , Rating: 1
I don't care who you are, that was funny.
Isn't also funny that a company which is best known for its vehicles is such a leader in the field of robotics? Or am I wrong on that?

RE: Just the hands?
By FITCamaro on 4/6/2009 12:40:55 PM , Rating: 1
Honda is a multi-faceted company the same as GM.

RE: Just the hands?
By MadMan007 on 4/7/2009 5:17:39 AM , Rating: 2
Not really. Think of the robotics they use in their assembly plants.

RE: Just the hands?
By zshift on 4/6/2009 10:04:35 AM , Rating: 2
the ocz controller uses very basic techniques to read your mind, but it also depends on slight facial movements, which makes you look like you're twitching...

i honestly doubt ocz could make a full on mind control device and that honda couldnt catch up or get to it first.

We already have thought controlled robots
By Lord 666 on 4/6/2009 10:58:01 AM , Rating: 4
They are called Obama Supporters.

RE: We already have thought controlled robots
By borowki2 on 4/6/2009 11:12:16 AM , Rating: 1

By MaulBall789 on 4/6/2009 11:29:51 AM , Rating: 1
ha ha ha... ha. And ditto heads support who now?

By FITCamaro on 4/6/2009 12:41:49 PM , Rating: 2

By Smartless on 4/6/2009 2:42:11 PM , Rating: 2
I think to many acronyms are overlapping...

BMI - I thought body mass index, bowel movement indication..

But seriously, thought process movement is great, so do they have these for people without arms and legs?

By bobsmith1492 on 4/6/2009 7:11:43 PM , Rating: 2
That was my thought; put a person in an exoskeleton that is thought-controlled and voila, restored mobility! Or, a super-soldier... that second option would probably come first.

By MadMan007 on 4/7/2009 5:20:42 AM , Rating: 2
It SHOULD be MMI - Man Machine Interface - but undoubtedly hyepr-politically correct sensitive fems would flip out, or the though of that possibility would prevent any company from calling it that. HMI (human) isn't bad but doesn't have the same ring to it.

Why is the robot grabbing
By JonnyBlaze on 4/6/2009 10:57:13 AM , Rating: 2
at all these women?!?

RE: Why is the robot grabbing
By Chocobollz on 4/8/2009 2:22:37 AM , Rating: 2
Because the person who controlling it, thinking about grabbing the womens? lol

By Pessimism on 4/6/2009 9:16:50 AM , Rating: 2
Multimillion dollar robot machine that is non height adjustable for the user.

He's wearing crocs.

By ggordonliddy on 4/6/2009 10:06:52 PM , Rating: 2
The company didn't show a live demonstration of the technology, citing the fact that a person's thinking could be distracted if they don't have strong concentration.

Wrong. They were too lazy to remove its massive armaments, and knew that something like this would likely happen:

(Not because someone would die; because they would not want to have to call a paramedic.)

What Men Want?
By rburnham on 4/7/2009 9:58:59 AM , Rating: 2
Oh great, now they'll be a bunch of robots controlled by guys wandering the streets, looking for beer, pizza and porn. Their wives will stand on the porch, shaking their heads ruefully.

What are we looking at?
By FPP on 4/8/2009 6:00:21 PM , Rating: 2
Would we recognize the next big thing if it was in front of us?

"We shipped it on Saturday. Then on Sunday, we rested." -- Steve Jobs on the iPad launch

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