machine neural pattern recognition advances … a step closer to transhuman freedoms

Stephen Hawking

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Stephen Hawking assisted by Peter Diamandis, CEO of Zero Gravity, at the Kennedy Space Center, April 26, 2007. Hawking fulfilled a dream of floating weightless on a zero-gravity jet…

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Brain2Robot

Original: Fraunhofer Institute Computer Architecture and Software Technology

Alerting Source: Scientific Blogging 12 Nov. 2007

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“People paralyzed as the result of an accident or a serious illness are reliant on the help of others in many situations. The aim of the EU funded Brain2Robot project is to develop a prosthetic control system based on intended movements. The idea is to help patients regain a certain degree of independence. To this end, the Brain-Computer Interface (BCI) developed at Fraunhofer FIRST is combined with an eyetracker, which determines from the direction of the patient’s gaze where the prosthesis (e.g. a robot arm) should move to. The movement is initiated by a signal from the BCI.

A Look Suffices

“To start the system, an eyetracker first determines the direction in which the robot arm should move. The direction of the patient’s gaze is monitored by two cameras mounted on a specially designed pair of glasses. . . . The test person sees an object, looks at it, imagines moving his/her arm, and the robot grasps the desired object.

Triggered by Thought

“The actual movement of the arm is triggered by a signal from the Brain-Computer Interface. . . . They are capable of detecting changes in brain activity triggered by the purely mental conception of a particular behaviour. They can, for instance, unequivocally identify patterns reflecting the idea of moving the left or right hand and extract them from the many millions of neural impulses. . . . This enables the test persons to operate a computer using the BCI system after training for only a short period (approx. 30 minutes).

Application Areas

In developing the Brain2Robot, the focus has been on . . . the control of prostheses, supportive robots or wheelchairs. Another development to emerge from BCI research is the mental typewriter, a communication device enabling very severely paralyzed patients to select letters and write texts. But other application areas are also ultimately conceivable, e.g. the use of BCI technology to control computer games or in automotive safety systems (driver monitoring, driver assistance).

Marie Curie Excellence Grant

The Brain2Robot project is being funded within the EU 6th Research Framework Programme by means of a Marie Curie Excellence Grant (EXT).” . . . (full article)

Image Credit: Huffington Post

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Newcomb’s commentary: “We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.” President John Kennedy, September 12, 1962, Rice University

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