Toyota technology has brain waves move wheelchair

Jun 29, 2009

(AP) -- Toyota Motor Corp. says it has developed a way of steering a wheelchair by just detecting brain waves, without the person having to move a muscle or shout a command.

Toyota's system, developed in a collaboration with researchers in Japan, is among the fastest in the world in analyzing brain waves, it said in a release Monday.

Past systems required several seconds to read brain waves, but the new technology requires only 125 milliseconds - or 125 thousandths of a second.

The person in the wears a cap that can read brain signals, which are relayed to a brain scan electroencephalograph, or EEG, on the electrically powered wheelchair, and then analyzed in a computer program.

Research into mobility is part of Toyota's larger strategy to go beyond automobiles in helping people get around in new ways.

The new system allows the person on the wheelchair to turn left or right and go forward, almost instantly, according to researchers.

Coming to a stop still requires more than a thought. The person in the wheelchair must puff up a cheek, which is picked up in a detector worn on the face.

Japanese rival Honda Motor Co. is also working on a system to connect the monitoring of with mechanical moves.

Earlier this year, Honda showed a video that had a person wearing a helmet sitting still but thinking about moving his right hand. The thought was picked up by cords attached to his head inside the helmet. After several seconds, Honda's boy-shaped robot Asimo, programmed to respond to brain signals, lifted its right arm.

Neither Honda nor Toyota said it had any plans to turn the technology into a product for commercial sale as each said they are still developing the research.

©2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Explore further: Tailored 'activity coaching' by smartphone

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

New robot 'steered by human thought': Honda

Mar 31, 2009

Japan's Honda said Tuesday it had developed a robot steered by human thought, thanks to a helmet-like device that measures a person's brain activity and sends signals to the machine.

Mind over body: new hope for quadriplegics

Mar 10, 2008

Around 2.5 million people worldwide are wheelchair bound because of spinal injuries. Half of them are quadriplegic, paralysed from the neck down. European researchers are now offering them new hope thanks to groundbreaking ...

Using your mood to operate a computer game

May 28, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Brain Computer Interfaces measure electrical signals from the brain and convert them into data that can be used by a computer. You can move a cursor on your screen, for example, simply by ...

Thinking about moving? Let brain waves do the walking

Dec 05, 2004

Using brain waves to control screen cursor movements, rather than moving a mouse by hand, seems like science fiction! Yet such direct control over our environment is an integral part of the development work being undertaken ...

Recommended for you

When emotions control objects

10 hours ago

Dimming a light, immersive playing on a computer, and tracking yoga exercises in real time – sensors developed by SmartCardia use various vital signs to transmit data to a host of everyday objects.

Tailored 'activity coaching' by smartphone

Oct 17, 2014

Today's smartphone user can obtain a lot of data about his or her health, thanks to built-in or separate sensors. Researcher Harm op den Akker of the University of Twente (CTIT Institute) now takes this health ...

WASP has printer, will travel, to make houses

Oct 16, 2014

At Maker Faire Rome, an Italian 3D printer company is demonstrating a tall, portable machine that will bring 3D-printed dwellings to impoverished countries. WASP has been exploring low-cost solutions to ...

User comments : 3

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

lengould100
not rated yet Jun 29, 2009
Will never be fast enough or accurate enough tocontrol autos.
plasticpower
not rated yet Jun 29, 2009
Never say never
visual
not rated yet Jun 30, 2009
"never" may indeed be the case for non-invasive approaches, however with enough time implants will become quite safe, social taboos against them will fade away and they will eventually become the basis of the next technological revolution.