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by Matt Brogan

Honda has today unveiled the world’s first Brain Machine Interface (BMI) system that allows a person to control a robot through thought alone.

This joint project between Honda Research Institute Japan Co. Ltd, Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute International (ATR) and Shimadzu Corporation, builds on previous work revealed three years ago.

The technology measures the brain’s electrical activity using electroencephalography (EEG) and blood flow using near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) to produce data that is then interpreted into control information.

As a result, the system can distinguish brain activities with high precision and without any physical motion.

Honda Australia’s Senior Director, Mr. Lindsay Smalley says this is another example of the diversity and breadth of Honda’s development of technology for the future.

“Honda is leading the world in technological advancements across several mobility industries. Since 2005, Honda and the ATR have been using BMI technology to explore the potential of a new interface which connects people and machines,” said Mr Smalley. “This technology will be further developed to be used with human-friendly products by integrating it with intelligent and robotic technologies”.

The BMI technology announced in 2006 used a functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) scanner to measure brain activities; however the large size and powerful magnetic field generated by the fMRI scanner limited the locations and conditions where it can be used.

The newly developed measuring device uses EEG and NIRS sensors and can be transported with ease and used in various locations.  Test procedures with the new BMI have seen it achieve the world’s highest-level accuracy rate of more than 90 per cent.

Honda, ATR and Shimadzu Corporation are continuing to develop further enhancements on the BMI.

Source: Honda




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