Scientists have been exploring how people can use signals from the brain to control prosthetic limbs. Researchers from Japan are now showing this same technology, but how it can be used to augment existing human capabilities.
Engineers from Kyoto’s Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute are demonstrating how people can be taught to control a third robotic arm with their brains for better multitasking.
Eight of the 15 test subjects were able to successfully balance a ball on a board with their hands and grab a water bottle with the robotic arm.
The brain-machine interface used to control the robotic arm is a cap fitted with electrodes that measures electrical signals produced by the brain.
“What we’re measuring is leakage from the brain’s electrical activity,” Shuichi Nishio, one of the researchers involved in the study, according to The Verge. “We have to tune [the brain-machine interface] for each participant; selecting the right electrodes and frequencies.”