Saffron's Space

So, a few weeks ago I spoke about an incredible, mind-controlled robotic arm. This week in When Science Fiction Becomes Reality, I’m taking it a step further with MindWalker. This incredible invention consists of a frame and robotic parts which move in response to brain impulses.

The frame is designed to be used by people with paralysis who are unable to walk. It is strong enough to support the body’s weight and is also capable of moving in such a way that it allows the patient to ‘walk’.

Robot Walking

Unfortunately at this stage the ‘mind-reading’ component gets interference from the mechanical movement but the research team is well on its way to solving that problem. In the meantime the frame has been fitted with pressure sensors which respond to the patient leaning left or right, resulting in the opposite leg stepping forward.

The team plans to perfect the brain interpretation mechanism and create a commercial product.

This invention has many similar implications to that of the Robotic Arm. While the brain-control aspect isn’t as streamlined it does have incredible potential. With technology such as this people who have been permanently paralysed will be able to walk. Take it a step further and quadriplegic’s could have a full-body frame which allows both arm and leg movement.

In similar fashion externally controlled robots are easy to perceive: instead of the frame being around your body, you sit comfortable in your chair while the robot does your mind-controlled bidding. These kinds of ‘brain-reading’ advances are fantastic for the medical field but think of the other potential consequences. If we stretch it out into the realm of science fiction it’s easy to see a mind-controlled spaceship. What about mind-controlled cyber-soldiers? How long until implants in our brains can do almost anything for us, from controlling the lights, television, our car, doors and so on?

If you think about it, our brains are just organs which generate electrical impulses. We have technology which can detect and interpret these impulses so really it’s only a matter of time before every thought we have can be read and translated by a machine (for good or evil). The idea of your thoughts appearing on a TV screen isn’t so far fetched if you ask me…

What do you think of this up-and-coming thought-controlled technology? Where do you see these advances leading us in the future?

 



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