timothy from the want-to-do-this-right-now dept.
MrSeb writes "An Israeli student has become the first person to meld his mind and movements with a robot surrogate, or avatar. Situated inside an fMRI scanner in Israel, Tirosh Shapira has controlled a humanoid robot some 2000 kilometers (1250 miles) away, at the Béziers Technology Institute in France, using just his mind. The system must be trained so that a particular "thought" (fMRI blood flow pattern) equates to a certain command. In this case, when Shapira thinks about moving forward or backward, the robot moves forward or backward; when Shapira thinks about moving one of his hands, the robot surrogate turns in that direction. To complete the loop, the robot has a camera on its head, with the image being displayed in front of Shapira. Speaking to New Scientist, it sounds like Shapira really became one with the robot: 'It was mind-blowing. I really felt like I was there, moving around,' he says. 'At one point the connection failed. One of the researchers picked the robot up to see what the problem was and I was like, "Oi, put me down!"'"
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