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Brain interface to direct wheelchair’s actions

With big-time backing from the Ministry of Education and Science, a group of Spanish scientists are making big plans to develop a thought-controlled robotic wheelchair. Work is already under way to produce a brain-computer interface that can turn a person’s thoughts into wheelchair commands.

The Biomedical Evaluation of Robots to Assist Human Mobility project has put 180,000 euros in the development fund of the scientists, who are hopeful of developing a mobile interface that works in conjunction with EEG electrodes that are affixed to your scalp. The electrodes pick up your brain activity and zip it through to the BCI, which translates into commands like “Go forward,” “Stop,” and “Turn around.”

This isn’t exactly multiple-level command language here. Wheelchair commands aren’t anywhere as sophisticated as even the most basic of computer software commands. The prototype is expected in the next two years, complete with a front-mounted sensor that can warn of obstacles ahead.

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