Innovation Watch: Mind controlled robots

Imagine controlling a robot arm with nothing more than your thoughts? Researchers have taken a step towards that reality with a breakthrough in non-invasive robotic device control. We picture a world where brand activations could be brought to life with the opportunities this tech provides.

A team of American researchers from Carnegie Mellon University has developed the first successful mind-controlled robotic arm. The team, working in collaboration with the University of Minnesota developed the arm’s ability to continuously track and follow a computer cursor.

Until this breakthrough any sort of robot device required some form of brain implant to work. As you might have guessed the tech is still very much in its early stages and isn’t nearly as effective as the implant-based technology. So, let’s hold our horses when we imagine some kind of Doctor Octopus robot super soldiers…

Naturally this sort of tech could potentially have life changing implications for people with physical disabilities, or with people who are growing frail with age. All on board with that sort of thing.

However, imagine the sheer scope it could give to branded experiential activations? Suddenly scale stops being a problem when a thought can control a robot. Larger than life activations don’t have to worry about the same logistics as something manually controlled: there’d be no worrying about having to teach people controls, just tell people to focus their concentration and they’re in control.

If the tech could world alongside VR we could create worlds that combine the wonder of the virtual with real tactile feedback as well. It could completely change how we interact with live spaces. This is a tech we’re seriously hoping becomes the norm!