29/06/2009 4:49:00 AM
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
TOKYO - 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 wheelchair 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.
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 brain waves 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. http://technology.sympatico.msn.ca/News/ContentPosting?newsitemid=269615938&feedname=CP-CONSUMER-TECH&show=False&number=0&showbyline=True&subtitle=&detect=&abc=abc&date=True