Researchers from the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) have made a groundbreaking discovery that could change the way we interact with technology. In collaboration with the Australian Army and Defence Innovation Hub, Professors Chin-Teng Lin and Francesca Iacopi have developed a biosensor that allows you to control devices such as robots and machines using just your thoughts. This advanced brain-computer interface has the potential to revolutionize various industries, including advanced manufacturing, aerospace, and healthcare.
This type of technology, if ever widely adopted and advanced, could make traditional interfaces like consoles, keyboards, touchscreens, and hand-gesture recognition obsolete. According to Professor Iacopi, “the hands-free, voice-free technology works outside laboratory settings, anytime, anywhere.”
Combining Graphene Material and Silicon
The development of this cutting-edge technology was made possible by the use of graphene material combined with silicon. This allowed the researchers to overcome issues like corrosion, durability, and skin contact resistance, resulting in the creation of wearable dry sensors.
A study published in the journal ACS Applied Nano Materials reveals that the graphene sensors are highly conductive, easy to use, and robust. The hexagon-patterned sensors are placed on the back of the scalp to detect brainwaves from the visual cortex. The sensors are resilient to harsh conditions, making them suitable for use in extreme operating environments.
The user wears a head-mounted augmented reality lens that displays white flickering squares. By focusing on a specific square, the brainwaves of the operator are picked up by the biosensor. A decoder then translates the signal into commands. The Australian Army recently demonstrated the technology by having soldiers control a Ghost Robotics quadruped robot using the brain-machine interface. This allowed for hands-free command of the robotic dog with up to 94% accuracy.
“Nine Commands in Two Seconds”
“Our technology can issue at least nine commands in two seconds. This means we have nine different kinds of commands and the operator can select one from those nine within that time period,” explains Professor Lin.
The researchers have also explored ways to minimize noise from the body and environment to obtain clearer signals from the operator's brain.
This innovative technology is likely to garner significant interest from the scientific community, industry, and government. The researchers at UTS hope to continue making advances in brain-computer interface systems, which could pave the way for a new era in human-machine interaction.
The development of biosensor technology that enables thought control of devices has the potential to revolutionize numerous fields. By eliminating the need for traditional interfaces and allowing for hands-free, voice-free operation, this technology can improve the lives of people with disabilities and increase the efficiency of industries such as advanced manufacturing, aerospace, and healthcare. With continued research and innovation, we can expect to see more advancements in brain-computer interface systems that will reshape the way we interact with technology.
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