Category Archives: BCI

Cornell robots anticipate human actions

FacebooktwitterlinkedinFacebooktwitterlinkedin

http://news.cornell.edu/stories/2013/04/think-ahead-robots-anticipate-human-actions

Cornell University researchers have programmed a PR-2 robot to not only carry out everyday tasks, but to anticipate human behavior and adjust its actions.

From a database of 120 3-D videos of people performing common household activities, the robot has been trained to identify human activities by tracking the movements of the body – reduced to a symbolic skeleton for easy calculation – breaking them down into sub-activities like reaching, carrying, pouring or drinking, and to associate the activities with objects.

Observing a new scene with its Microsoft Kinnect 3-D camera, the robot identifies the activities it sees, considers what uses are possible with the objects in the scene and how those uses fit with the activities; it then generates a set of possible continuations into the future – such as eating, drinking, cleaning, putting away – and finally chooses the most probable. As the action continues, it constantly updates and refines its predictions.

Eldercare robots perform essential tasks

FacebooktwitterlinkedinFacebooktwitterlinkedin

http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/05/19/disruptions-helper-robots-are-steered-tentatively-to-elder-care/

Already popular in Japan, today’s New York Times reports on the developing trend of robotic companions for the elderly.

A typical Japanese example is the Tsukuba University created Hybrid Assistive Limb. The battery-powered suit senses and amplifies the wearer’s muscle action when carrying or lifting heavy objects.  Caregivers can also use the suit to aid them while lifting patients from a bed, and patients can wear it to support their movements.  Other Japanese devices include a small, battery-powered trolley to aid independent walking; a portable, self-cleaning bedside toilet; and a monitoring robot which tracks and reports the location of dementia patients.

The Times describes several interesting US developed robots:   Cody, a Georgia Tech created robotic nurse cable of bathing patients;  HERB, a Carnegie Mellon developed butler which retrieves objects and cleans; Hector, a University of Reading robot which provides medication reminders, locates lost objects, and can assist in a fall; and Paro, a baby seal looking robot which calms dementia patients.

Skin mounted electrode arrays measure neural signals

FacebooktwitterlinkedinFacebooktwitterlinkedin

http://coleman.ucsd.edu/lab-research/

Professor Todd Coleman of UCSD is developing foldable, stretchable electrode arrays that can non-invasively measure neural signals. They can also provide more in-depth analysis by including thermal sensors to monitor skin temperature and light detectors to analyze blood oxygen levels.  The device is powered by micro solar panels and uses antennae to wirelessly transmit or receive data.  Professor Coleman wants to use the device on premature babies to monitor their mental state and detect the onset of seizures that can lead to brain development problems such as epilepsy.

SOINN artificial brain learns from the internet, applies information

FacebooktwitterlinkedinFacebooktwitterlinkedin

http://haselab.info/soinn-e.html

A group at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, led by Dr. Osamu Hasegawa, has advanced SOINN, their machine learning algorithm, which can now use the internet to learn how to perform new tasks. The system, which is under development as an artificial brain for autonomous mental development robots, is currently being used to learn about objects in photos using image searches on the internet. It can also take aspects of other known objects and combine them to make guesses about objects it doesn’t yet recognize.

Brain-machine interface allows control of limbs through thoughts

FacebooktwitterlinkedinFacebooktwitterlinkedin

http://www.fastcoexist.com/1681674/a-prosthetic-arm-controlled-by-your-thoughts

By placing a small sensor in the brain’s motor cortex, interfaces can pick up on electrical activity, and translate it into commands that control a robotic arm. Now scientists have gone a step further. Instead of a wired brain-arm link, they have now developed a wireless connection powerful enough to work at a distance of three feet.

“Clinical applications may include thought-controlled prostheses for severely neurologically impaired patients, wireless access to motorized wheelchairs or other assistive technologies, and diagnostic monitoring such as in epilepsy, where patients currently are tethered to the bedside during assessment,” says David Borton, at Brown University.