Americas Apr 26, 2012
LAUSANNE: Swiss scientists have demonstrated how a person with paralysis can control a robot by thought alone, a step they hope will one day allow immobile people to interact with their surroundings through so-called avatars.
Similar experiments have taken place in the United States and Germany, but they involved either able-bodied patients or invasive brain implants.
The team at Switzerland’s Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne says the experiment takes them a step closer to enabling immobile patients to easily interact with their surroundings through a robot “avatar.”
Tuesday’s demonstration involved a partially tetraplegic patient at a hospital in the southern Swiss town of Sion who imagined lifting his fingers to direct a robot at the university 100 kilometres away.
Similar experiments have taken place in the United States and Germany but they either involved able-bodied patients or invasive brain implants, while the Swiss team used only a simple head cap to record the brain signals.