Shanghai student controls cockroach movements with human brain

Shanghai Jiaotong University (SJTU) student controls cockroaches with human brain

Li Guangye, a postgraduate student at the School of Mechanical Engineering at Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU) under the direction of his advisor Zhang Dingguo, has successfully managed to control the movements of a live cockroach using a human brain. The cockroach was instructed by the person controlling it to walk in an S and a Z pattern.

According to an article published on the official website of SJTU, signals from the human brain are passed onto the brain of the cockroach, which allows the human to remotely take hold of the cockroach’s movements.

It is predicted that human beings will be able to communicate with computer operating system and software by using the brain signals in the future. One can open a program and write something in computer without using mouse and keyboard. Relevant techniques can develop into the Brain Net, enabling people to communicate with brain signals.

The controller needs to wear portable wireless wave collecting device to ensure his/her directional intention be recognized by a computer. They then reply to visual stimuli that makes an image signaling them to control directions. The computer program then converts the electrical signals from the brain, and recognizes the intentions of the controller, deciphers this into a command and then wirelessly sends to a receiver set up on the cockroach’s back. The antenna nerves in the cockroach’s brain are inserted with tiny electrodes, which let’s the controller to control it.

A student successfully realizes remote and wireless control of a cockroach by sending human beings’ brain signals to the cockroach’s brain.

The project won the second place in the 2015 IEEE Robotics and Automation Society’s Student Activities Committee’s Video Contest and would be exhibited in the top-level meeting ICRA2015. In the future, the researcher plans to release a larger scale project that will allow various controllers to race their cockroaches against one another.

The students in China have used this kind of technology for the first time. In 2012, at Zhejiang University microchips allowed monkeys to control mechanical arms.

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