Avatar robot controlled by thought alone is a reality

All you need to get an out of body experience is a bot, an fMRI scanner, and a whole load of bandwidth

For the first time ever scientists have controlled a robot, miles away, with the power of thought alone. A team from the Virtual Embodiment and Robotic Re-embodiment project used an fMRI scanner – which detects brain activity in real-time – to allow someone to effectively embody a robot.

Just like in the film Avatar, the test subject was hooked up to the brain scanner and, using a video camera in the robot, was able to see around him and control the limbs and movements of the robot by thinking about moving himself. This is exciting news for disabled people who may, one day, be able to control humanlike robots with nothing but thought.

It was so immersive that when data connection dropped out for a moment and the scientists picked up the robot to see what was wrong, the subject controlling it called out, "Oi, put me down!"

The next stage involves building a human sized robot and continuing with the research. So you better start swatting up on your Surrogate comics as there could be some serious moral and ethical implications when this becomes an alternative to using your weak fleshy casing.

[New Scientist via Gizmodo]

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