Imagine living a life in which you are completely aware of the world around you but you're prevented from engaging in it because you are completely paralyzed. Even speaking is impossible. For an estimated 50,000 Americans, this is a harsh reality. It's called locked-in syndrome, a condition in which people with normal cognitive brain activity suffer severe paralysis. Research by Boston University neuroscientist Frank Guenther and his team is looking at how brain regions interact, with the hope of melding mind and machine and ultimately making life better for people with locked-in syndrome. Find out more in this Science Nation video.
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This Olympic Movement & Robotic Design video discusses precision and the practice needed to achieve it in Olympic athletics, and how a type of robotic flyer called a quadrocopter can mimic Olympic athletic tasks. The quadrocopter was developed through a robotics program led by robotics engineer Raffaello D’Andrea. D’Andrea and his team identify a task for the robot and then program it with algorithms that use feedback from the quadrocopter’s control system to enable the robot to not only perform the task, but also improve upon its performance each time it performs the task. See more in this special report video.
Credit: National Science Foundation, NBC Learn
The Division of Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental and Transport (CBET) Systems of the Directorate for Engineering supports research and education in the rapidly evolving fields of bioengineering and environmental engineering and in areas that involve the transformation and/or transport of matter and energy by chemical, thermal or mechanical means.
University of Washington (UW) researchers have performed what they believe is the first noninvasive human-to-human brain interface. Using electrical brain recordings and a form of magnetic stimulation, Rajesh Rao sent a brain signal to Andrea Stocco on the other side of the UW campus, causing Stocco’s finger to move on a keyboard.
February 10, 2014
Mind-controlled quadcopter demonstrates new possibilities for people who are paralyzed
A brain-computer interface allows people to use only their thoughts to control a flying quadcopter
With support from the National Science Foundation (NSF), biomedical engineer Bin He and his team at the University of Minnesota have created a brain-computer interface with the goal of helping people with disabilities, such as paralysis, regain the ability to do everyday tasks.
Currently, the researchers are testing out their system using a flying object known as a quadcopter, and controlling it with someone's thoughts! For the experiments, the team uses both an actual flying quadcopter and a virtual one. In both experiments, the interface is non-invasive, so there are no implants. Participants wear an electro-encephalography, or EEG, cap with 64 electrodes. When the participant thinks about a specific movement, neurons in his or her brain's motor cortex produce tiny electric signals, which are sent to a computer. The computer processes the signals and sends directions through a Wi-Fi system to direct the quadcopter.
He and his team chose the quadcopter for this testing phase to keep participants engaged, but the interface is designed to help in the real world with everyday tasks, such as turning on the lights or surfing the internet.
The research in this episode was supported by NSF award #0933067, Neuroimaging of Motor Imagery for Brain Computer Interface Application, and funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
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