Humans control robots. That’s just the natural order of things since time began. But in the following video, you’ll see one clever robot defying the natural law by controlling a person’s arm with electrodes. Who’s the robot now?
The robot controls the human limb by sending small electrical currents to electrodes taped to the person’s forearm and biceps, which allows it to command the elbow and hand to move. In the experiment, the person holds a ball, and the robot a hoop; the robot, a small humanoid, has to coordinate the movement of both arms to successfully drop the ball through the hoop.
The researchers, from the Montpellier Laboratory of Informatics, Robotics, and Microelectronics (known by its French acronym LIRMM), say the approach is still in the proof-of-concept stage, but they are confident that performing more complex tasks is possible. Their goal is to develop robotic technologies that can help people suffering from paralysis and other disabilities to regain some of their motor skills.
To be sure, an advanced, dexterous robot arm would be capable of assisting paralyzed people with daily tasks. And other technologies such as robot teleoperation, brain-machine interfaces, and powered exoskeletons also promise to give physically disabled people more mobility. But Adorno and his colleagues say there are advantages in having a robot controlling a person’s body. The technique they’re using to do that, known as functional electrical stimulation (FES), is used in rehabilitation and has physical and psychological benefits to patients.
Submitted by Delsyd