ASU researcher creates system to control robots with the brain
A researcher at Arizona State University has discovered how to control multiple robotic drones using the human brain.
A controller wears a skull cap outfitted with 128 electrodes wired to a computer. The device records electrical brain activity. If the controller moves a hand or thinks of something, certain areas light up.
“I can see that activity from outside,” said Panagiotis Artemiadis (pictured above), director of the Human-Oriented Robotics and Control Lab and an assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering in the School for Engineering of Matter, Transport and Energy in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering. “Our goal is to decode that activity to control variables for the robots.”
If the user is thinking about decreasing cohesion between the drones — spreading them out, in other words — “we know what part of the brain controls that thought,” Artemiadis said.
A wireless system sends the thought to the robots. “We have a motion-capture system that knows where the quads are, and we change their distance, and that’s it,” he said.
Up to four small robots, some of which fly, can be controlled with brain interfaces. Joysticks don’t work, because they can only control one craft at a time.
“You can’t do something collectively” with a joystick, Artemiadis said. “If you want to swarm around an area and guard that area, you cannot do that.”
To make them move, the controller watches on a monitor and thinks and pictures the drones performing various tasks.
Artemiadis has been working on the brain-to-machine interface since he earned his doctorate in 2009, specifically neural interfaces with robot hands and arms.
“During the last two to three decades there has been a lot of research on single brain/machine interface, where you control a single machine,” he said.
A few years ago, he had the idea to go to a lot of machines. It’s part of a trend in robotics and space exploration: Instead of building one giant expensive machine or plane or spacecraft, researchers build a lot of little cheap ones.
“If you lose half of them, it doesn’t really matter,” Artemiadis said.
He already knew what area of the brain controlled what motions. One discovery jumped out at him.
“I was surprised the brain cares about swarms and collective behaviors,” he said.
“What I didn’t know — or hypothesized — is that the brain cares about things we are not doing ourselves,” he added. “We don’t have a swarm we control. We have hands and limbs and all that stuff, but we don’t control swarms.”
In other words, our brains are not used to all of our fingers and toes running off on their own and then returning.
“I was surprised the brain cares about that, and that the brain can adapt,” he said.
He worked with Air Force pilots on this; the two-year project was funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency of the U.S. Department of Defense and the Air Force. The pilots were skeptical. Their main objection was what would happen if they thought of something else while controlling the drones.
Artemiadis said controllers have to stay focused. If it’s close to lunch and all you can think about it is pizza, it doesn’t work. Fatigue and stress also play a part. Artemiadis said he can tell when subjects are tired or need a break.
“We tell the subject to think of two things,” he said. “Focus on breathing, or we tell them to imagine closing their left hand into a fist.”
Each subject is different. The system has to be calibrated to individual controllers, and it has to be done every day, because brain signals change from day to day.
The next step in Artemiadis’ research is multiple people controlling multiple robots. He plans to move to a much larger experimental space to refine the proof of concept. In the future, he sees drone swarms performing complex operations, such as search-and-rescue missions.
The Latest on: Controlling multiple robot drones with the brain
via Google News
The Latest on: Controlling multiple robot drones with the brain
- The Navy’s robot pilots could one day outnumber its human oneson October 1, 2022 at 8:59 am
This goal was “outlined by multiple officials during updates at the annual Tailhook Association symposium in September,” reports Aviation Week, referring to the conference held by a fraternal order of ...
- Drones in the Warehouse? The Competitive Mandate for Rapid Adoptionon September 28, 2022 at 5:00 pm
Using drones for inventory control presents extraordinary benefits. Still, barriers to adoption persist—including the fear of investing in bleeding-edge technology with no guarantee of achieving real ...
- The Global Multirotor Drone Market size is expected to reach $3.6 billion by 2028, rising at a market growth of 13.4% CAGR during the forecast periodon September 28, 2022 at 5:55 am
Multirotor drones have more than two rotors, each of which spins at a fixed pitch to produce lift. The drone can be made to climb, hover, or drop by adjusting the rotor speed such that the thrust ...
- EU proposes rules making it easier to sue drone makers, AI systemson September 28, 2022 at 4:19 am
European Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders addresses the European Parliament plenary session in Strasbourg, France September 15, 2021. REUTERS/Yves Herman/Pool/File Photo BRUSSELS, Sept 28 ...
- Like a Swarm of Bees, These Drones Can 3D Print Structures While in Flighton September 27, 2022 at 12:23 pm
The fleet printed multiple structures—using materials from foam to a cement-like goo—to millimeter accuracy with minimal human supervision.
- How Robots Could Change the Futureon September 26, 2022 at 4:59 pm
But the future of robots doesn’t just lie in more lifelike, human and helpful drones, droids and automatons ... which attempts to mimic the human brain’s thought processes (hence AI’s ...
- Reaction Wheels Almost Control This Unusual Droneon September 25, 2022 at 5:00 pm
Taking a cue from the spacecraft industry, [Tom Stanton] decided to explore reaction wheels for controlling drones. The idea is simple – put a pair of relatively massive motorized wheels at ...
- Flying A Normally-Sized Drone With A Nano-Drone’s Brainon September 25, 2022 at 5:00 pm
Drones come in all shapes and size, and [Kedar Nimbalkar] was wondering if the guts of a tiny Cheerson CX-10 nano-drone could take off with a larger body, leading to an interesting brain ...
- Teams of drones can print in 3Don September 25, 2022 at 2:15 pm
Writing in the latest edition of Nature, Dr Kovac describes a system of flying robots that is composed of two types of multi-rotor drones: builders and scanners. The builders carry the 3d-printing ...
- Team at Texas A&M using robots to aid in disaster reliefon September 23, 2022 at 6:28 pm
There are ground robots, which Murphy described as “bomb squad robots,” drones and water-based robots, which can go underwater. When a hurricane like Fiona hits, drones are often used in the ...
via Bing News