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Thoughts Control Avatar-Like Robot

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naperlou
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No need to be there
naperlou   9/27/2012 8:37:20 AM
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Wow, Ann, you don't even have to be there to do something.  I can imagine a lot of uses, as you mention, for this technology.  It is really something futuristic and shows the tremendous progress in understanding how we work.

TJ McDermott
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TJ McDermott   9/27/2012 10:39:20 AM
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One problem that will need to be solved is that of operator distraction.  If adverse things can happen when a distracted operator is actually hands on with a machine, imagine what could happen with one controlled only by thoughts.

Beth Stackpole
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Beth Stackpole   9/27/2012 11:44:33 AM
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Good point, TJ, but still pretty amazing stuff. It's scary how much closer we are to the stuff of sci-fi movies becoming a not so distant reality.

Ann R. Thryft
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Ann R. Thryft   9/27/2012 12:01:51 PM
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I agree about the sc i-fi reality (again!). There are several different research projects that have focused on thought control of robots, including this one:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QRt8QCx3BCo

Rob Spiegel
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Re: No need to be there
Rob Spiegel   9/27/2012 3:00:44 PM
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Wow. Amazing technology, Ann. I'd hate to see this fall into the hands or those wishing to do harm. I guess that's just a matter of time.

Ann R. Thryft
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Ann R. Thryft   9/27/2012 3:17:21 PM
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I know what you mean, Rob. But so far, this technology only tells robots to make simply body movements that the "sender" thinks about. I suppose it could eventually be extended to firing a gun or some other wartime function. OTOH, we're already doing remote bombing without thought control.

Dave Palmer
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Re: No need to be there
Dave Palmer   9/27/2012 6:08:08 PM
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@Ann: Great article on an interesting topic.  I wonder if this technology could be used to help people with disabilities? (Kind of like Sam Worthington's character in Avatar).

Ann R. Thryft
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Ann R. Thryft   9/28/2012 12:25:54 PM
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Thanks, Dave. As we mention in the article, the main apps are indeed rehab for those that can be rehabilitated. For those that can't because they're paralyzed, the goal is physical embodiment like in the movie.

Charles Murray
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Charles Murray   9/28/2012 5:06:22 PM
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In a much more crude fashion, Dave, the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago in 2005 "re-wired" the body of a man who lost both arms as the result of an electrical accident. By thinking, he can move the fingers on one of his artificial arms. It's not nearly as elegant as the solution shown here, but it shows we're moving toward a Sam Worthington-type of solution.

http://www.designnews.com/document.asp?doc_id=226412

Dave Palmer
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Dave Palmer   9/28/2012 5:53:00 PM
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@Charles Murray: Thanks for the link.  The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago is an incredible place.  My godfather was there recently after a major stroke.  This was during the time that Senator Mark Kirk was there.  There is nothing good about having a stroke, but the level of care they provide is amazing.

Rob Spiegel
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Rob Spiegel   9/27/2012 9:27:33 PM
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You're right, Ann, we already have drones that are run by remote control. But that's not quite the same thing as a robot out to do a hit. Or an army of robots controlled by thought. The creep value escalates.

gsmith120
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gsmith120   9/27/2012 4:02:26 PM
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Nice article Ann.  I like reading about all the advancements in robots.  They sure have come a long way.  Sci-fi channel comes to life.  I can really see a lot of good use for this robot. 

Rob Spiegel
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Rob Spiegel   9/27/2012 10:02:41 PM
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Good point about SF advances in robots, Gsmith120. With all of the advances Ann has been covering, now it almost looks like advances in robotics is getting ahead of the SF world.

TJ McDermott
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TJ McDermott   9/27/2012 11:49:28 AM
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Oh, I agree, it is simply amazing stuff.  I wasn't belittling the technology, just exploring a hurdle.

The most significant problem facing science fiction authors is that they don't predict far enough out.

Gene Roddenberry's Enterprise had hints of a computer tablet the captain signed, and pocket sized communicators.  That was supposed to be 200 years in the future.  Instead, we have them now.

I heard a news article today about warp drive, that it may not be complete fantasy.  Best guess is that it will be doughnut shaped.  Go figure!

Mydesign
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Re: No need to be there
Mydesign   9/28/2012 3:32:22 AM
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I seems that, science fiction screenplay writers are the driving force behind such innovations. In most of the science fiction movies there are some robots with extra ordinary habits and movements, which are controlled from remote location. I think such visualization capacity motivates the scientists and engineers to work towards for successful realization in real world environment.

Ann R. Thryft
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Ann R. Thryft   9/28/2012 12:30:16 PM
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Regarding sci-fi and robotics, science fiction stories (not movies) predicted all kinds of advances only now being realized in robotics and other technologies, but they did this decades ago. We now have the technologies to make these robots, and movie-making finally has good enough CGI to realize many of these abilities on-screen.

Mydesign
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Mydesign   10/4/2012 6:32:43 AM
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Ann, have you ever thought about next-gen science fiction stories or movies. Just imagine, it will be amazing!!!

Ann R. Thryft
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Ann R. Thryft   10/4/2012 12:05:37 PM
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Mydesign, I've been reading science fiction since the early 60s as a kid. Writing it was one of my childhood dreams. Seeing it come alive, so to speak, in these stories may be as close as I'll get.



Ann R. Thryft
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Re: No need to be there
Ann R. Thryft   9/27/2012 12:00:36 PM
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TJ, that's a good point. OTOH, the robot only recognizes, and responds to, specific thoughts it's been programmed for. So if it gets thoughts it doesn't understand, nothing will happen. The potential danger will depend on the robot's size, abilities, and what it's doing.

78RPM
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Re: No need to be there
78RPM   10/1/2012 10:55:04 PM
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Yes, TJ, I agree. We know that the technology of gesture recognition is already possible.  We have also seen Japanese robots that (who?) can walk upright. What bothered me about the video is that the robot had to be supported by a second human.  Magicians know that this leaves wide open the possibility that the whole claim of "remote" thought control was just a twist of the operator's wrist.

Is this new technology or just a brand of religion seeping into wishful geeks and dweebs?

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: No need to be there
Ann R. Thryft   10/2/2012 12:32:48 PM
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78RPM, the technology is still crude. As the article states, the robot's arm and leg movements are being controlled by thought to follow another person. But this doesn't include thought control of the entire body to keep it upright. So the robot still needs to be held up by another person so it won't fall over.

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