An Israeli researcher has gone all Vulcan and mind melded with a robot.
Situated inside an functional magnetic resonance imaging scanner in Israel, Tirosh Shapira controlled a humanoid robot at the Béziers Technology Institute in France. The scanner read his thoughts, a computer translates those thoughts into commands, and then those commands are sent across the internet to the robot in France.
It was not that simple. The MRI can simply see the real-time blood flow in your brain and training teaches the system that a particular “thought” or blood flow pattern equates to a certain command. When Shapira thought about moving forward or backward, the robot moves forward or backward; when Shapira thinks about moving one of his hands, the robot surrogate turns in that direction. The robot had a camera on its head, with the image being displayed in front of Shapira.
According to New Scientist, Shapira really became one with the robot and felt like he was there, moving around. At one one point a connection failed. One of the researchers picked the robot up to see what the problem was and I was like, ‘Oi, put me down!’”
This sort of technology is ideal for the military who could send robots into battle, rather than soldiers. They would help paralysed and vegetative people could use robots to interact with the world, effectively replacing their damaged body with a shiny new robot.