Our fabulously supportive brainwave enthusiasts from around the Internet and across the globe rocked our socks off this week. Your votes, tweets, comments, and emails brought InteraXon one step closer to our first-ever appearance at SXSW in 2013. Voting closed on Friday, and we won’t know for a while if ‘Retail: The Next Frontier For Digital Health’ is selected. Whatever the outcome, you’ve helped bring brainwave technology a bit further into the mainstream and to the attention of the SXSW judges.
This week in our roundup: a rehabilitative exoskeleton has received a number of prestigious research grants, a brainwave-enabled quadcopter is set to debut at this month’s UCC, and the European Union has funded an ethics research board for a project called RoboLaw.
1// A Rehabilitative Exoskeleton, Powered By BCI
Rice University and University of Houston have received prestigious research grants to continue work on an exoskeleton that could be used to help rehabilitate stroke survivors.
The exoskeleton will use EEG and brain computer interfaces to help patients retrain motor pathways in the brain and regain use of their limbs.
The scientists have received grants including an R01 Award from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and funding from the Presidents National Robotics Initiative.
2//Brainwave-Controlled Quadcopter to Debut at September’s Ubiquitous Computing Conference
Zhejiang University researchers have unveiled a brainwave-enabled hovercraft called FlyingBuddy2, which will officially debut at this month’s Ubiquitous Computing Conference. The device has a limited range of motion, but large capabilities for social interaction through the quadcopter’s “on board” functions.
Wearing a commercial EEG headset, a user is able to send commands by Bluetooth to a computer. Wireless access points then transmit and connect to the quadcopter.
There is an on board camera, so the quadcopter also has the ability to do things such as take photos and video as it flies. Users can also stream video back to the computer through the wireless transmitter. The ability to take photos from multiple vantage points could provide future benefits for users with disabilities.
3// New Research Project Explores Ethical Guidelines For Bionic Limbs, More
What are the legal rights of a person with a bionic limb? What about someone with locked-in syndrome who communicates with a brain computer interface? A research project, called RoboLaw, is being partially funded by the European Commission to discuss legal frameworks for this changing technology and its impact on human life.
How brain implants, prosthetics limbs, wheelchairs and body enhancements change the definition of ‘disability’ will be examined during this research. The September edition of The Economist reported:
“Erica Palmerini of the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna (SSSA), in Pisa, Italy, which is directing the project, says there is an “urgent need” for regulation and legislation to manage new technologies like prosthetics and implants. If you are dependent on a robotic wheelchair for mobility, for example, does the wheelchair count as part of your body? Linda MacDonald Glenn, an American lawyer and bioethicist, thinks it does.”
The InteraXon news roundup is published weekly, every Sunday night, to recap trends and breaking news in the world of brain computer interfaces and thought controlled computing. Do you have a story you’d like to submit or share? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org (subject line “News Story”) or leave a comment here.