b25f2fa7-95eb-41a3-b1d9-67488f77df57

How to telepathically control a robot

March 23, 2017

While telepathy might not be a feature on your new TV, the next generation of robots, like Baxter, is using human thoughts to learn and be more productive.

Everyone has struggled with an unfriendly user interface at least once in their technological journey. Voice commands can be unreliable, and push buttons often process your commands too quickly or too slowly. Maybe you've even wished for a seamless interface that removes all of the unnecessary interactions and allows you to just visualize a request. While telepathy might not be a feature on your new TV, the next generation of robots, like Baxter, is using human thoughts to learn and be more productive.

According to Matt Simon for WIRED: "Today, communicating with the machines is mostly about typing or vocalizing commands, which creates lag time. Letting Baxter read your mind takes milliseconds. 'It’s a new way of controlling the robot that I actually like to think of as being natural, in the sense that we aim to have the robot adapt to what the human would like to do,' says MIT roboticist Daniela Rus, a co-author on the study. Namely, don’t put the paint in the wrong box, dummy.

The underlying technology is shiny and new and complex, but the idea is straightforward. When you notice a mistake, your brain emits a faint type of signal, known in neuroscience as an error-related potential. But that’s among all the other electrical chaos coursing through your brain that an EEG picks up, so machine learning algorithms sniff out the signal. When Baxter is about to make a mistake, the system translates the error-related potentials in the woman’s brain into code a robot understands."

To learn more, read "Baxter the Robot Fixes Its Mistakes by Reading Your Mind" from WIRED.

About the Author

Alexis Gajewski | Senior Content Strategist

Alexis Gajewski has over 15 years of experience in the maintenance, reliability, operations, and manufacturing space. She joined Plant Services in 2008 and works to bring readers the news, insight, and information they need to make the right decisions for their plants. Alexis also authors “The Lighter Side of Manufacturing,” a blog that highlights the fun and innovative advances in the industrial sector. 

Sponsored Recommendations

Reduce engineering time by 50%

March 28, 2024
Learn how smart value chain applications are made possible by moving from manually-intensive CAD-based drafting packages to modern CAE software.

Filter Monitoring with Rittal's Blue e Air Conditioner

March 28, 2024
Steve Sullivan, Training Supervisor for Rittal North America, provides an overview of the filter monitoring capabilities of the Blue e line of industrial air conditioners.

Limitations of MERV Ratings for Dust Collector Filters

Feb. 23, 2024
It can be complicated and confusing to select the safest and most efficient dust collector filters for your facility. For the HVAC industry, MERV ratings are king. But MERV ratings...

The Importance of Air-To-Cloth Ratio when Selecting Dust Collector Filters

Feb. 23, 2024
Selecting the right filter cartridges for your application can be complicated. There are a lot of things to evaluate and consider...like air-to-cloth ratio. When your filters ...