Advanced Neurorobotics

The very first creation of the non-invasive, mind-controlled robotic limbs arrives through robotics. People who have tetraplegia or paralysis of all four limbs are not able to accomplish any tasks with their hands or legs, the brain is completely disconnected from their body.

People who lost the connection between their brain and body due to severe stroke, injury or accidents, by using the robotic device they can once again, take control using the AI machines simply through their thoughts. Although the application of these techniques started over a decade ago, there have been breakthroughs with the continuous development of AI and machine learning.

In a disabled person, the neurons cannot be activated through the arms or legs and thus they do not transmit the decision which ultimately does not lead to the movement of their limbs. With the help of an implant, the neurons that activate during the limbs’ movements are read and conveyed to the robotics device. In turn, the robot performs the request and completes the task, for instance picking up a glass of water off the table and taking it to the mouth so the person is able to drink.

The advanced robotics contains three components to fulfill the tasks requested by people with tetraplegia: a sensor, a decoder and assistive technology.

The sensor represents a minuscule implant, an array of electrodes connected to gold wires embedded into the motor cortex of the brain responsible with body movements. Sending signals to the AI arm to perform actual physical work proves more difficult than sending signals to a computer to move a cursor on the screen. This occur due to differences between the two-dimensional and the three-dimensional world, as well as the obvious distinctness between the binary computer environment and the atomic physical nature of our surroundings.

The decoder, the second component of the system, receives the information from the implant which originally comes from the person asking for an action to be performed. This information is relayed to the dependable AI technology which actually executes the request. The communication must be synchronized between the decoder and the assistive instrument in order to complete the operation effectively.

The dependable or assistive technology represents the crucial step to accomplish the results desired by the person who sends the thoughts. The creation of the AI robotics to perform the tasks proves the most challenging. During the transmission of the person’s thoughts to the machine, the robot is designed to start performing the tasks, and if it encounters something, it enters the safety mode ceasing the action. At present, the AI assistive, non-invasive device help moving small objects, such as a mug from one point to another.

In the future, the robots will perform more complicated tasks, such as brushing the person’s teeth. Currently, the dependable robot wiring connects directly to the patient’s head, and it is expected that future connections will take effect using wireless. Although several breakthroughs have been achieved in the realm of thought-action communication through aid-devices, there is much to do to shape an efficient, easy-to-use, and safe helping robot for those who need it the most.


Cory Popescu