Mind Controlled Wheelchairs, They're For Reals

By Eric Wolff | October 4, 2010 4:00 am

On last week’s episode of Fringe, Dr. Walter Bishop, our resident mad scientist, remarked that he heard Massive Dynamics was developing wheel chairs that could be controlled with the mind.

Hey Walter, we can already do that. Check it out:

The subjects can think right, left, or forward , and the wheelchair responds.  The chair, built by a Japanese government-funded agency called Riken,  blows the doors off of previous records for how quickly the device responds to brain waves. The Riken chair responds in 125 milliseconds, far faster than the multiple seconds that had been the standard.

The technology behind controlling objects with our brains has come far, fast: In 2003, Duke researchers taught monkeys to control a robotic arm, in 2005, Brown University researchers taught four quadriplegics to move a cursor on a screen with their brain waves. The subjects in that experiment had 70 percent accuracy. By comparison, the Riken wheelchair has 95 percent accuracy.

You know we’re speeding along with a technology when even a SciFi show like Fringe thinks it’s futuristic.


Comments (7)

  1. It makes sense, Stephen Hawking is pretty much down to his cheek, not a lot of places to go next.


  2. Thought controlled wheel chairs have been around for a while now! I was kinda shocked by Walter’s remark since they put a cap on someone head every other episode.

    But the short training time and high accuracy rating for these wheelchairs is fantastic. Kudo’s to Riken for what can only be described as a breakthrough in bci development!

    On a sidenote: My team and I makes games to use with brain-computer-interfaces, and we have also found some interesting elements that greatly help BCI adoptability and training processes. We’ve just gone live with our new site at http://www.dreamsofdanu.com
    Maybe I’ll see some of you there 🙂

  3. The internet is great in that it allows people to comment about what they are passionate about. I am passionate about used video games

  4. It’s feels quickly unoriginal (by incorporating something totally new, much like the class system along with the rifts which might be much like warhammer online) The game is very good in case you are tired of WoW, or have enough time and cash to commit to both.


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