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With this new system, robots can ‘read’ your mind

Directing bots with brain waves and muscle twitches could make for a speedier response time

12:00am, June 20, 2018
mind-control robot

MIND CONTROL  Robots that are sensitive to brain and muscle signals from a human supervisor (like the drill-wielding bot shown here) could make for better assistants in factories or homes.

Getting robots to do what we want would be a lot easier if they could read our minds.

That sci-fi dream might not be so far off. With a new robot control system, a human can stop a bot from making a mistake and get the machine back on track using brain waves and simple hand gestures. People who oversee robots in factories, homes or hospitals could use this setup, to be presented at the Robotics: Science and Systems conference on June 28, to ensure bots operate safely and efficiently.

Electrodes worn on the head and forearm allow a person to control the robot. The head-worn electrodes detect electrical signals called error-related potentials — which people’s brains unconsciously generate when they see someone goof up — and send an alert to the robot. When the robot receives an error signal, it stops what it is doing. The person can then make hand gestures — detected by arm

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