Last updated on April 23, 2014 at 1:22 EDT
Mind-controlled flying robot Image 1
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Mind-controlled flying robot (Image 1)

September 17, 2013
Researchers from the lab of biomedical engineering professor Bin He of the University of Minnesotas (U of M) College of Science and Engineering demonstrate a new noninvasive system that allows people to control a flying robot using only their mind. Seated at the table are, from left to right, Brad Edelman, a graduate student in biomedical engineering; Alex Doud, a medical student and biomedical engineering graduate student. Standing left to right are Karl LaFleur, a recent bachelor's degree graduate in biomedical engineering; Bryan Baxter, a biomedical engineering Ph.D. student; and Kaitlyn Cassady, a laboratory staff member. Working in He's lab (He pioneered the new technology), the researchers learned to use their thoughts to steer the robot around a gym, making it turn, rise, dip and even sail through a ring. The technology may one day enable people who have lost speech and mobility due to neurodegenerative diseases to regain function by controlling artificial limbs, wheelchairs or other devices using only their mind. The technology is completely noninvasive. Brain waves (EEG) are picked up by the electrodes of an EEG cap on the scalp, not a chip implanted in the brain. Credit: University of Minnesota