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Toyota Demonstrates Brain Control of Wheelchair

kdawson posted about 5 years ago | from the left-no-left-dammit-left-puff-crash dept.

Medicine 107

An anonymous reader tips us that researchers at Toyota have developed a brain-machine interface system that allows for control of a wheelchair using thought. The system processes brain thought patterns (such as the thought of moving one's left foot) and can turn them into left, right, and forward movements of the wheelchair with a delay as short as one-eighth of a second. That's a big improvement over existing systems, which can take as long as several seconds to analyze and react to the user's thoughts. "The system has an emergency stop that can be activated by the user puffing his cheeks. The BMI adjusts itself over time to the characteristics of each driver's brainwaves. If a person dedicates three hours a day to using the system, the BMI can reach 95% accuracy in a week, researchers said."

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107 comments

I want to see.. (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28524911)

.. Jeremy Clarkson sit in one.

Re:I want to see.. (1)

ocularDeathRay (760450) | about 5 years ago | (#28525085)

I just hope these things can go faster than a honey badger

Re:I want to see.. (4, Informative)

beav007 (746004) | about 5 years ago | (#28525613)

This has already been demoed by James May on "James May's Big Ideas", some 8-10 months ago...

Re:I want to see.. (1)

that IT girl (864406) | about 5 years ago | (#28526361)

But only if it will go from naught to 60 in less than 5 seconds.

95% accuracy is pretty awesome. (3, Insightful)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 5 years ago | (#28524919)

But hitting that wall or doorjamb the other 5% of the time really sucks.

Re:95% accuracy is pretty awesome. (4, Interesting)

fractoid (1076465) | about 5 years ago | (#28524997)

I was going to say just this. 95% sounds good until you start thinking about it - but that means that in every hour of usage, the chair is going to spend three full minutes misbehaving. I can't find exact statistics or standards for conventional electric wheelchairs but I'd be amazed if the mean time before failure is measured in minutes rather than months or years.

Re:95% accuracy is pretty awesome. (2, Insightful)

Bob9113 (14996) | about 5 years ago | (#28525331)

I was going to say just this. 95% sounds good until you start thinking about it - but that means that in every hour of usage, the chair is going to spend three full minutes misbehaving.

OK, sure, but answer this: When you go out for an hour walk, do you ever stumble or overbalance? Sure, the wheelchair isn't perfect -- but neither are we.

Three minutes? I'd guess this thing is about as effective at understanding the brain's motive commands as an average six year old. That's pretty good.

Re:95% accuracy is pretty awesome. (4, Insightful)

BrightSpark (1578977) | about 5 years ago | (#28526407)

The human being has a built in risk management system. I wouldn't like the 5% failure to happen say at the train platform or near a road crossing. We take special care and do a lot of subconscious checking in more dangerous situations. True we are not foolproof, but we have a lifetime of reasoning to fall back on. The wheelchair system is a bit like a child. Kids need extra help in similar conditions becasue their peripheral vision is not great, their sense of risk and reasoning is still developing. I'm sure these wheelchair owners would be making the same calls about some overide intervention at high risk times. Good idea though. I'd sure hate it if I were stuck in a wheelchair.

Re:95% accuracy is pretty awesome. (2, Interesting)

Crazyswedishguy (1020008) | about 5 years ago | (#28527093)

Granted, 95% accuracy isn't amazing, especially in situations where you can't afford to make a mistake. This being said, I'm pretty sure that such a sophisticated device could easily implement some collision/stair avoidance (for instance).

I know I've tried putting my roomba on top of a table (or tried to make it go off the stairs), but it just stops when it gets to an edge. It also stops when its bumpers hit a wall, by the way. I don't know how much this wheelchair would cost, but I wouldn't be surprised if you could add the cost of a couple roombas without making a significant dent in the price.

Re:95% accuracy is pretty awesome. (1, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 5 years ago | (#28527129)

The human being has a built in risk management system. I wouldn't like the 5% failure to happen say at the train platform or near a road crossing.

People accidentally step in front of cars and trains all the time.

Care to back up, and try again?

P.S. Slashdot's new five minutes between postings policy is retarded. I suspect that they can't afford any more servers, and the new functionality is kicking slashdot's ass, so they have to reduce the meaningful traffic. Less comments, less cached pages to generate. Only those who read and write slowest are permitted to comment at full speed. Congratulations for once again reducing the overall quality of comments with a retarded policy, Slashdot!

Wow, I have another whole minute to bitch about this, while I'm still not permitted to post my comment. I'm not adding any material to the comment, and there's still a max-number-of-comments cap, so what has been achieved? Oh wait, now I understand! Only the people who are so bent about slashdot that they will sit here and use it all day when they are supposed to be working and actually earning their pay are permitted to post a lot of comments. With a five minute cycle Slashdot has deliberately introduced a change which will reduce the number of valuable comments from people who actually have things to do. You know, the only people qualified to leave comments, since they're actually doing things?

This is not the beginning of the end, this is the continuation of the end. The beginning of the end was requiring people to take one minute to post a two line comment. I think I see the drain getting closer, but it's hard to tell because it keeps going around and around...

Re:95% accuracy is pretty awesome. (4, Insightful)

TapeCutter (624760) | about 5 years ago | (#28525369)

"I was going to say just this. 95% sounds good until you start thinking about it - but that means that in every hour of usage, the chair is going to spend three full minutes misbehaving. I can't find exact statistics or standards for conventional electric wheelchairs but I'd be amazed if the mean time before failure is measured in minutes rather than months or years."

Depends how you define "failure". For the type of patient that need this interface the existing interface methods would have up to a 100% failue rate simply because their disability prevents them from using it with a reasonable degree of accuracy.

Re:95% accuracy is pretty awesome. (1)

fractoid (1076465) | about 5 years ago | (#28525493)

Good point. Their current option is 'not', so any control is good. Also, if they're reading the inputs 8 times a second, I'd presume that they would do some form of filtering to improve accuracy in practice.

Re:95% accuracy is pretty awesome. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28526831)

Obviously here at slashdot we don't really care about cripples, we just want an easier way to the fridge.

Re:95% accuracy is pretty awesome. (1)

Crazyswedishguy (1020008) | about 5 years ago | (#28527125)

Just put the fridge on the wheelchair, hook it to your brain. That way you can call it over every time you want a beer. (cue Soviet Russia joke)

Re:95% accuracy is pretty awesome. (1)

Loko Draucarn (398556) | about 5 years ago | (#28528749)

In other news, Mohammed finally decides that going to the mountain is for suckers.

Re:95% accuracy is pretty awesome. (3, Insightful)

nacturation (646836) | about 5 years ago | (#28525659)

I was going to say just this. 95% sounds good until you start thinking about it - but that means that in every hour of usage, the chair is going to spend three full minutes misbehaving.

Depends on how it fails for that 5%. If 95% of the time, it understands and executes the command perfectly, but the other 5% of the time, it doesn't understand and thus executes no command, then that's pretty good.

Re:95% accuracy is pretty awesome. (3, Insightful)

skaet (841938) | about 5 years ago | (#28526243)

Additionally, which 5% are we talking about? Does it fail every 57min for 3min reliably? Every 19min for 60sec? Every minute for 3sec? Or every 10sec for half a second?

Breaking it down like that and what do you get? A very small delay between reaction times every few seconds. Perhaps not even a noticeable delay since their optimal response time is 0.125sec

Re:95% accuracy is pretty awesome. (4, Insightful)

SeaFox (739806) | about 5 years ago | (#28525749)

The statement was "If a person dedicates three hours a day to using the system, the BMI can reach 95% accuracy in a week", they didn't say that 95% was the highest accuracy one could obtain. After a full month of usage, you could find yourself at decimal point level inaccuracy.

Re:95% accuracy is pretty awesome. (5, Insightful)

pinkushun (1467193) | about 5 years ago | (#28525389)

That's 95% more than any paralyzed person can move. I'm sure this figure will improve too!

Re:95% accuracy is pretty awesome. (2, Funny)

Techman83 (949264) | about 5 years ago | (#28525487)

Yeah, but I'm envious of a 95% accuracy, if I could get that whilst walking, I'd be a less bruised man.

TO TOYOTA NERDS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28526097)

i am puffing my cheeks to control my phone you insensitive clods!

Not a power wheelchair user I suspect? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28526451)

Have you ever been around individuals, who are using powered wheelchairs due to a severe physical disability? Like, say, persons born with Cerebral Palsy. Protip: They already hit stuff hard ALL THE *BEEP*ING TIME! Doors and doorways are usually steel reinforced in many institutions, and homes and furniture is frequently worn and battered. Many of the users have scars and bruises on extremities from colliding with objects around them.

There is a reason the good wheelchair manufacturers build their power chairs like the proverbial tank. Many chairs weigh upwards of 300lbs. If you cannot navigate it, you can at least push it out of the way. Protip II: The power chair in the video is a feeble little thing only intended for light indoor use. It won't have the power to drive through the woods.

Subject of TFA could be great for a fair few people I know.

Re:95% accuracy is pretty awesome. (2)

arb phd slp (1144717) | about 5 years ago | (#28527415)

But hitting that wall or doorjamb the other 5% of the time really sucks.

I have a colleague with cerebral palsy who uses a powered wheelchair and she accidentally bumps doorjambs and corners of tables all the time. I don't know if it is 5% of the time, but there's not a whole lot of paint on the the door casings in our lab. It's actually not that big a deal because she is completely surrounded by the chair so it's pretty hard for her to get hurt. And she doesn't, you know, go right up to the edge of staircases or train platforms or anything.
I'm sure that they are working on that remaining 5% error.

Thought / Action Barrier (3, Insightful)

wasabu (1502975) | about 5 years ago | (#28524921)

Uhmm.. what happens if you can't stop thinking about moving?

Re:Thought / Action Barrier (4, Insightful)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 5 years ago | (#28524957)

There's a difference for most of us between thinking ABOUT moving our foot and thinking TO move our foot.

Re:Thought / Action Barrier (4, Funny)

codeButcher (223668) | about 5 years ago | (#28525843)

There's a difference for most of us between thinking ABOUT moving our foot and thinking TO move our foot.

You've got that spot on. I spend a lot of time thinking about moving my butt out of bed. Especially now that it's winter here in the southern hemi.

Re:Thought / Action Barrier (1)

AmberBlackCat (829689) | about 5 years ago | (#28528159)

Also, if it works like a Bayesian filter, then if you think about moving all the time, it won't factor that into the cue for movement. It will factor that into the cue for being idle, since that's what you're thinking when you want to be idle.

Re:Thought / Action Barrier (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28527717)

Uhmm.. what happens if you can't stop thinking about moving?

It doesn't read your thoughts, that it a misconception.
Thinking about doing something does not trigger the same regions in the brain that actual movement does. Just before you actually move something, your brain begins to activate the motor control centers, and shortly after that it actually send the signal to the rest of the body. This technology can pick up on the actual movement and the immediate precursor, but we are still a very, very long ways away from being able to monitor thinking or intent.

But while this is really cool, & I'm glad to see this tech finally starting to get going, they are hardly alone, and not light years ahead like they imply. Honda has a similar system with similar specs, and there are a bunch of other companies also working on this as well.

So far, nobody is really doing much with neural feedback, it's all just passive neural sensing. Call me when we get full sensory feedback running...

BMI... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28524939)

Better get a new name as I think Body Mass Index whenever I hear BMI.

Anyone got a creative alternate title?

Brain Control Interface? Mind Control Interface?

Re:BMI... (3, Funny)

mcvos (645701) | about 5 years ago | (#28529875)

Anyone got a creative alternate title?

Brain Control Interface? Mind Control Interface?

That sounds like I'm gonna need a tinfoil hat.

Captain Pike calling... (4, Funny)

iluvcapra (782887) | about 5 years ago | (#28524949)

Yeah, the wheelchair can read minds, but can it flash a light to indicate "yes" or "no"?

Re:Captain Pike calling... (1)

dynamo52 (890601) | about 5 years ago | (#28525111)

Yeah, the wheelchair can read minds, but can it flash a light to indicate "yes" or "no"?

I know you were going for funny but for many patients I would imagine something similar (with a less ridiculous methodology perhaps) to be a useful feature that could probably be easily implemented through this technology.

Re:Captain Pike calling... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28527971)

Yeah, the wheelchair can read minds, but can it flash a light to indicate "yes" or "no"?

I know you were going for funny but for many patients I would imagine something similar (with a less ridiculous methodology perhaps) to be a useful feature that could probably be easily implemented through this technology.

USE THE BEEPS

Re:Captain Pike calling... (1)

VinylRecords (1292374) | about 5 years ago | (#28525119)

Yeah, the wheelchair can read minds, but can it flash a light to indicate "yes" or "no"?

From what I've learned of the future(ama) I think you mean "yes" and "yes, yes".

Re:Captain Pike calling... (1)

Drinking Bleach (975757) | about 5 years ago | (#28525653)

I've always wondered why he can't just use Morse code with that light...

Re:Captain Pike calling... (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | about 5 years ago | (#28526321)

It wasn't Required Reading At The Academy.

Re:Captain Pike calling... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28526571)

Like the episode in South Park [wikipedia.org]

Police: Miss Claridge, did Trent try to kill you again?

Ms. Claridge: Beep Beep (no)

Police: Yes, yes. Take him away boys!

Re:Captain Pike calling... (3, Interesting)

arb phd slp (1144717) | about 5 years ago | (#28527691)

You don't need a "no" response, actually. You can communicate quite well with just a "Yes". (Here is where I explain all of the humor out of the Capt. Pike joke.) The computer can automatically scan through a series of options and the user can activate when it gets to the option he or she wants. If no response, it simply assumes No and moves on.

If you want to see examples of this system at work, check out Jean-Dominique Bauby's system in the film The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, where it scans the letters of the alphabet in order of frequency (in French in his case).

Stephen Hawking uses a row-column system that scans through dictionaries of whole words large blocks at a time, each selection narrowing down the options to the word, so that he only has to resort to spelling things out for infrequently occurring words.

Wheeee! (2, Insightful)

powerslave12r (1389937) | about 5 years ago | (#28525017)

I can't wait to hook it up to a Wii and play some racing games.

Re:Wheeee! (1)

Idbar (1034346) | about 5 years ago | (#28526251)

Sounds more like the other way around. You, watching a high-speed racing game (or TV show), "thinking" about the movement, and then... miserably crashing your head against the 46" LCD in front of you...

Now, I can't wait for the YouTube videos documenting such behavior!

But will it Blend? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28525019)

...one of the universe - most complex question - ever!

this is what I'm fucking TALKING ABOUT!!! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28525131)

2009 is the year of the future baby! MILLIONS of people walking around with touch-screen, GPS equipped IPHONES??? wheelchair that READS YOUR FUCKING MIND WAVES??? BLACK fucking PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES???? I swear to God I'm living in a goddamned science fiction future!!!!

Re:this is what I'm fucking TALKING ABOUT!!! (1)

daveime (1253762) | about 5 years ago | (#28525229)

Unfortunately, your choice of font is still living in 1925.

Re:this is what I'm fucking TALKING ABOUT!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28525425)

but it was not a troll. What the fuck is wrong with these moderators. Have they SEEN the kinds of people walking around and using iPhones, and how it looks when they're doing so? It is fucking futuristic. Do they know how "futuristic" a black President would have appeared even 15 years ago? Literally, this is the shit that was in comic books. YOu can't tell me nobody reading the present story thought of Professor Xavier's (of the xmen) scooting around in his wheelchair without apparently touching or moving anything! Stuff of fucking comic books man!

Here they are.. (4, Funny)

Cyrcyr (1070070) | about 5 years ago | (#28525145)

I, for one, welcome our new brain controlling wheelchair overlords.

Re:Here they are.. (1)

Yoozer (1055188) | about 5 years ago | (#28526341)

When you formulate it like this... it sounds like Toyota is making Dalek prototypes. EXTERMINATE!

They Need A Better Acronym... (0)

BlogTheHaggis (1361307) | about 5 years ago | (#28525157)

My first thought was "Who'd want to use a Bowel Movement Interface?". Ewww...

Re:They Need A Better Acronym... (1)

weirdo557 (959623) | about 5 years ago | (#28525249)

the elderly

Dirty thoughts... (0, Offtopic)

RuBLed (995686) | about 5 years ago | (#28525159)

I'd hit that!

Re:Dirty thoughts... (1)

velen (1198819) | about 5 years ago | (#28525275)

LMAO.

For those who RTFA: Though-Controlled Robot!! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28525167)

If you actually went to the article and watched the video, there is a side-note at the end that Honda developed a similar system for controlling a robot.

They demonstrate using ASIMO.

HOW IS THIS NOT THE MAIN STORY!

Re:For those who RTFA: Though-Controlled Robot!! (3, Funny)

BluBrick (1924) | about 5 years ago | (#28525273)

Direct brain interfaced control of a robot? meh.
Direct brain interfaced control by a robot? Now THAT's interesting!


(I, for one...)

That's nearly perfect. (2, Interesting)

zip0nada (883919) | about 5 years ago | (#28525175)

Oh, good, I stand a relatively good chance of being able to stop myself before rolling into traffic. Although, to be fair, I'd much rather face a 5% error rate than have no control at all. Not to mention that's only one week of training.

Re:That's nearly perfect. (2, Insightful)

JanneM (7445) | about 5 years ago | (#28525681)

"Oh, good, I stand a relatively good chance of being able to stop myself before rolling into traffic."

Which is why the brake is controlled with the breathing tube.

Roujin Z anyone? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28525187)

Mainly nostalgia here, but the article reminded me of the plot from Roujin Z (OAV) [animenewsnetwork.com] .
An elderly invalid is volunteered for a bizarre science experiment. He is given a robotic bed linked directly to his brainwaves, allowing instant gratification. This seems like a wonderful deal, until this seemingly harmless bed goes out of control and transforms into an unstoppable robot.

I first saw the film on the SciFi channel many years ago.

Stephen Hawking (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28525193)

The chair of Stephen Hawking needs an upgrade.. So, is toyota going to gift one to him?

new lease of life... (1)

Kained (190462) | about 5 years ago | (#28525199)

With only a cheek muscle left to tweak, perhaps Mr Hawkin could put this to good use.

Sweet! (1)

crhylove (205956) | about 5 years ago | (#28525217)

Now we don't have to move at all!

Yes but... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28525225)

...does it run Linux?

Re:Yes but... (1)

grimborg (975596) | about 5 years ago | (#28525763)

...does it run Linux?

RTFA, it does only if you use it in a Beowulf cluster

It's called the Audeo (3, Interesting)

Ossk (650546) | about 5 years ago | (#28525247)

This was done a few years ago in a different way: you wear an electronic collar which eavesdrops on the nerves running to your vocal chords. These signals are then decoded into words. Finally, some words, like "forward", are interpreted as intentions to move. The system is called the Audeo.

Official site: http://www.theaudeo.com/ [theaudeo.com]
Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iyQv61899HE [youtube.com]
Article: http://zone.ni.com/devzone/cda/tut/p/id/6130 [ni.com]

Re:It's called the Audeo (2, Funny)

Patrik_AKA_RedX (624423) | about 5 years ago | (#28525767)

Finally, some words, like "forward", are interpreted as intentions to move.

I can imagine how this could be very entertaining to see in action. Imagine someone on a stage giving a speech in one of these. "...these figures show clearly, we should move forward AAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaaaaaaaaah" CRASH.

Re:It's called the Audeo (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28525803)

Wouldn't it be cheaper to just give every disabled person a nigger?

Re:It's called the Audeo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28529121)

that wouldn't be any use if signals couldn't REACH your vocal cords. It depends what type of paralysis you have.

Always a flaw... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28525265)

Of course it will have one tremendous flaw. After a year of learning how to read a patients brain waves to 99.99%, changing the battery out deletes the profile, since the manufacturers decided to use volatile ram to store the info.

Re:Always a flaw... (1)

arb phd slp (1144717) | about 5 years ago | (#28527771)

I know you meant that as a joke, but all of the assistive tech that I've seen (which is a lot) that runs on things like EEG or eye tracking have to recalibrate a lot. The really reliable stuff tends to be very simple, like switches with only toggle ON/OFF responses.

Time to steal the wheelchair and climb the Urals (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28525267)

What if I run out of fuel ?!!

95% accuracy probably not good enough (0, Redundant)

syousef (465911) | about 5 years ago | (#28525293)

Don't get me wrong, this is an amazing achievement but clearly it'll need work to be practical. 95% sounds great until you realise that if you're on a footpath with oncoming traffic, or near the top of some stairs, that 5% can be painful or deadly.

Re:95% accuracy probably not good enough (2, Insightful)

Korin43 (881732) | about 5 years ago | (#28525335)

That seems to be why there's an emergency stop built in..

It must be said... (3, Funny)

hyades1 (1149581) | about 5 years ago | (#28525353)

This technological advance screams out to be mounted on a mobile beer fridge. Far more convenient than waiting for a buddy to finish his pint, then using that time-worn phrase, "While you're up..."

Gah... brains are meant to be good at learning (1, Insightful)

gringer (252588) | about 5 years ago | (#28525503)

Okay, I'll say this again, because it doesn't seem to have filtered through to the general population yet. Until the singularity, the human brain will be able to learn more easily than a computer. Please stop trying to teach computers the thought patterns for specific movements, and just provide a neural interface for the brain to work with. The brain will be able to figure out what signals it needs to fire to get the wheelchair moving (or whatever) soon enough.

FWIW, my own idea of how to do this would be to put a few small electrodes into a person's lower arm, far away from the brain (and have a sensitive meter to detect nerve firings). Once the brain figures out what nerves are important for this interface, you then use that interface to deliver signals to operate other equipment.

Re:Gah... brains are meant to be good at learning (4, Funny)

nacturation (646836) | about 5 years ago | (#28525707)

FWIW, my own idea of how to do this would be to put a few small electrodes into a person's lower arm, far away from the brain (and have a sensitive meter to detect nerve firings).

Why not just put the electrodes into the person's feet? Then when they're walking along, the wheelchair can just follow a few paces behind them. That way, if they ever find themselves paralyzed and unable to send nerve firings to their feet, they'll find it rather convenient to have a wheelchair available.

Re:Gah... brains are meant to be good at learning (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | about 5 years ago | (#28525789)

FWIW, my own idea of how to do this would be to put a few small electrodes into a person's lower arm

If they had nerve impulses getting as far as their lower arm, they'd be able to use a joystick.

Re:Gah... brains are meant to be good at learning (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | about 5 years ago | (#28525807)

Singularity schmingularity. It's almost as overhyped as the semantic web.

Re:Gah... brains are meant to be good at learning (1)

maxume (22995) | about 5 years ago | (#28527157)

The problem is that there are plenty of people who are teetering on the brink of losing their traditional faith, and there are these other folks who say that heaven is coming to earth.

Makes for enthusiasts, I think.

Re:Gah... brains are meant to be good at learning (1)

stranger_to_himself (1132241) | about 5 years ago | (#28527257)

Okay, I'll say this again, because it doesn't seem to have filtered through to the general population yet. Until the singularity, the human brain will be able to learn more easily than a computer. Please stop trying to teach computers the thought patterns for specific movements, and just provide a neural interface for the brain to work with. The brain will be able to figure out what signals it needs to fire to get the wheelchair moving (or whatever) soon enough.

FWIW, my own idea of how to do this would be to put a few small electrodes into a person's lower arm, far away from the brain (and have a sensitive meter to detect nerve firings). Once the brain figures out what nerves are important for this interface, you then use that interface to deliver signals to operate other equipment.

I know in theory this sounds good but has it ever been demonstrated to work? Can adults recruit new brain areas like this?

Re:Gah... brains are meant to be good at learning (1)

arb phd slp (1144717) | about 5 years ago | (#28527833)

I know in theory this sounds good but has it ever been demonstrated to work? Can adults recruit new brain areas like this?

Turns out, yes. With the right biofeedback, the brain remains plastic throughout adulthood. Otherwise, all of the stroke and TBI rehab I've done my whole career wouldn't have worked. I've seen it functionally, and more recently, they've seen new synaptic growth in the lab.
I don't think anyone will be developing whole new brain areas, but the existing motor cortex can repurpose itself.

meh.. post some decent articles kdawson (4, Interesting)

nawcom (941663) | about 5 years ago | (#28525547)

Okay, i'll look like some troll already mods, but give me a second.

I just feel that this is just another promo ad that gets sent to tech sites from some publicists to get the title of the technology spread with their name on it.

this article, (06/29/2009) [gizmodo.com]
Brain controlled wheelchair developed at University of South Florida (02/11/2009) [robotliving.com]
from European scientists, Brain Controlled Wheelchair (05/11/2008) [ubergizmo.com]
Ambient Tech creates brain controlled wheelchair (09/06/2007) [newscientist.com]
Brain controlled wheelchair from spanish inventor (01/29/2007) [futurismic.com]
University of Electro Communications in Japan develop brain controlled wheelchair (08/11/2006) [pinktentacle.com]

Yeah I'll stop. Mod me down. I just think it's odd that this stuff gets press like it's something brand new. Perhaps sell us by saying its much better? Something. Please.

Re:meh.. post some decent articles kdawson (1)

notseamus (1295248) | about 5 years ago | (#28526189)

Fair point, and shouldn't be modded down, but the difference is that this one interprets dance moves!

tag magneto or xavier (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28525585)

... this has to be the work of one of them.

Overlords (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28525665)

I, for one, bow down to our brain-controlled wheelchair overlords.

That's amazing (0)

moonbender (547943) | about 5 years ago | (#28525685)

That's really incredible!! Mind control? How could that work?! What? Oh, it only works on their special wheel chair...

I, for one (0, Redundant)

grimborg (975596) | about 5 years ago | (#28525755)

welcome our new braincontrolwheelchaired overlords

in korea (0, Troll)

grimborg (975596) | about 5 years ago | (#28525771)

wheelchairs are for old people

Advertisements (3, Funny)

FishTankX (1539069) | about 5 years ago | (#28525985)

I am professor Xavier. And I approve this wheelchair.

Let me know... (1)

billybob_jcv (967047) | about 5 years ago | (#28525993)

...when you have demonstrated wheelchair control of a brain.

Super balmer (4, Funny)

arndawg (1468629) | about 5 years ago | (#28526029)

I can see it now. Balmer hooked up to an army of wheel chairs throwing themselves at you.

Human connection (1)

taucross (1330311) | about 5 years ago | (#28526147)

It's always good to see the human brain controlling our possessions, rather than the other way around. I look forward to the day when people are connected to other people in this same capacity.

Who's doing the hard work ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28526363)

Does the system analyse user thoughts or does the user's brain learn to send the input the system expect ?

Stephen Hawking (2, Interesting)

PlantPerson (781437) | about 5 years ago | (#28526457)

This is slightly off topic, but I hope this technology develops fast enough to get Stephen Hawking some great things before he dies. I'd love to see him given something that would allow him to type letters just by thinking of them.

Toyota no! GM yes! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28526559)

I would wait until GM start selling theirs.

but wait! two words... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28526629)

Konami Code.

Just imagine the possibilities.

Just Askin' (2, Funny)

BigBlueOx (1201587) | about 5 years ago | (#28527365)

Toyota researchers in Japan have built a brain/machine interface (BMI)...

Is it an EVIL brain/machine interface?

... that has been demonstrated to control a wheelchair ...

Is it an EVIL wheelchair?

...using a person's thoughts.

Are they EVIL thoughts?

Old research news is old (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28527405)

I do research in the neural engineering field and have done this work with patients many years ago. #1 - this technology is old news, BMI research is unfunded by the NIH/NSF because it's very close to having the same stigma as cold fusion (although I do think BMI will work eventually but not in this generation). #2 - You're sitting at a busy intersection waiting to cross and have a 5% chance of getting run over using this device (at the best), would you use this? Sure sure any improvement is better than being paralyzed but the idea isn't new and it's a long way from being useful.

Control (1)

fulldecent (598482) | about 5 years ago | (#28527757)

Controlled by your thoughts...

Wow, I what would happen if I drove off this bridge... WHUPPS!

Need clarification on E-Stop function (1)

motherpusbucket (1487695) | about 5 years ago | (#28529643)

By 'puffing his cheeks', could they be referring to farting?
If not, would sneezing/coughing constantly stop the chair?

This Article Should Be Called... (2, Interesting)

manoftin (1432855) | about 5 years ago | (#28529907)

... the future of gaming. We will look back at these stories and realise this was where it all started...

dreaming? (1)

emeiji (1462243) | about 5 years ago | (#28531439)

What if you fell asleep in the chair and dreamt you were moving around?
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