A Japanese company expert in the interconnection between the brain and machines recently unveiled its latest innovation. It is a toy robot controlled by the user’s brain activity. If there is still a long way to go, Japan could start a revolution in science toys.
Mind control robot project
The control by the thought has in the past been the subject of various studies. In 2015 in the United States, a quadriplegic person operated a robotic arm with the sheer force of thought. A year later, US researchers created a brain piloting system to control four drones by thought. Ultimately, scientists estimate that this number could be raised to 100 in the more or less near future. In July 2020, a French start-up unveiled a video game in which the control is done via a brain wave control device.
The Japanese company NeU is an expert in the interconnection between the brain and machines. In a press release published on November 2, 2020, this start-up unveiled Zeonic Technics, a unique toy robot. Developed in collaboration with the Japanese toy giant Bandai, this robot is controlled directly by thought. Intended for learning science and technology, it is connected to a mobile application that is itself linked to the user’s brain.
Only a few interactions so far
A module is attached to the user’s forehead: it is a brain activity sensor. The latter can measure blood flow to the front of the brain. The mobile application controlling the robot’s movements receives information in real-time (see video at the end of the article). These movements have been pre-programmed and each variation in brain activity corresponds to a gesture. For now, the results are spectacular but still limited to a few interactions such as attention.
Scientific toys “made in Japan” could experience a revolution thanks to this kind of thought control device. On the other hand, it will be necessary to be patient because this research is far from being completed. In the meantime, various researchers have developed amazing robots for 2020. These include the robotic hand accompanying single people, the handy robot fixed to the ceiling to support the elderly, or even drones carrying soap bubbles to pollinate flowers.