Thursday, May 14, 2009

A (Virtual) Smart Home Controlled By Your Thoughts

A (Virtual) Smart Home Controlled By Your Thoughts
ICT Results (05/11/09)

The European Union-funded Presenccia project has developed brain-computer interface technology that could eventually enable users to control the interconnected electronic devices in future smart homes. Electroencephalogram (EEG) equipment is used to monitor electrical activity in a user's brain, and after a period of training, the system learns to identify distinctive patterns of neuronal activity produced when a user imagines turning on a light switch or controlling a media device. The ability to move and control objects in real life or in virtual reality (VR) using only the power of thought could help amputees learn how to use a prosthetic limb or allow people confined to a wheelchair experience walking in virtual reality. "A virtual environment could be used to train a disabled person to control an electric wheelchair through a brain-computer interface," says Presenccia project coordinator Mel Slater. "It is much safer for them to learn in VR than in the real world, where mistakes could have physical consequences." One application developed by the project allows people to control a small robot using a system, known as Steady State Visual Evoked Potentials, which could be adapted for a wheelchair. Four lights on a small box flicker at different frequencies, which trigger different reactions in the brain when the subject looks at each light. Each of the four lights could be used to move the wheelchair in a different direction. Another approach allows people to type with their thoughts by staring at a character that they want to type. The researchers say that better software, hardware, and a more thorough understanding of EEG data could give people with "locked-in syndrome" new means of communication.

No comments:

Post a Comment