Researchers at the University of South Florida have developed a wheelchair robo-arm that can read brain waves and react accordingly. Naturally, this could change the lives of individuals with debilitating syndromes and spinal injuries.
The BCI system – developed, used and modified by USF psychology professor Emanuel Donchin and colleagues – captures P-300 brain wave responses and converts them to actions. Donchin and colleagues harnessed the P-300 brain signal to allow the user to "type" on a virtual keyboard by thinking with the P-300 response serving as the virtual "finger" for patients who cannot move, such as those with locked-in syndrome or those with Lou Gehrig's Disease (ALS). Researchers in the USF Department of Mechanical Engineering's Center for Rehabilitation Engineering and Technology, in collaboration with the Cognitive Psychophysiology Laboratory in the Department of Psychology, modified the BCI further to fit a specific WMRA requirement.
Early testing has been positive—users needn't move a muscle in order to operate the arm. And yes, I can totally see Stephen Hawking rolling with one of these—doling out high-fives and choking out other physicists. [USF News via Medgadget via Coolest Gadgets]