Robotic Wheelchair Controlled by Thought Alone (May 4, 2009) — Paralyzed people could move in their house using a robotic wheelchair that can be controlled by thoughts alone.

robotic-wheelchairJavier Minguez, a researcher at University of Zaragoza in Spain, is developing a wheelchair for people with severe neuromuscular disabilities, and it can even be used in crowded surroundings.

To direct the wheelchair, users have to concentrate on one of several possible destinations in a 3D map of their surroundings, which appear on a screen in front of them.

Users have to wear a skullcap with 16 electrodes positioned around their scalp. These detect millisecond-long fluctuations in brain activity, which happen when the user looks at the point on the screen that coincides with a target destination.

As the user scans the on-screen map a blue spot flashes in sequence over each possible destination. When it flashes over the point the user is looking at, it provokes a fluctuation in their brain activity that is detected by the electrodes.

The computer compares the sequence of flashes with the user’s brain activity, and when a flash coincides with a fluctuation, it interprets that as indicating where the user wants to go

One thought on “Robotic Wheelchair Controlled by Thought Alone

  • May 4, 2009 at 12:48 pm

    Pretty amazing. I wonder if we will see it on the market in my lifetime….

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