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Scientists at the National Brain Research Center (NBRC) of India are working on a brain-controlled robot that will help disabled patients perform simple tasks like self-feeding, switching on the TV or playing computer games. This NBRC project on brain-computer interface is a first in India. The project will use electrodes to record signals from the brain and decode them in real-time to perform the tasks using the robot.

The research project is being funded by Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO). Trials on animals will be conducted extensively, said one of the scientists. Such a technology will help paralytic patients who are mostly dependent on attendants.

“The toughest part is to decode the signals, and for that we have collaborated with Professor Rangarajan of the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore, who has developed a mathematical tool, called algorithm, for the purpose. The program for the robot, to be used for animal trials, has been done by another IISc scientist Ashitava Ghosal,” said Neeraj Jain, professor of NBRC, who is working on this project for three years.

“Paralytic patients mostly live a vegetative life. They are completely dependent on family members or attendants . The new technology provides hope, but we will have to wait until it materializes in real terms,” said Dr MC Mishra, chief of AIIMS Trauma Center.

Planned working method:

  1. Disabled person will wear a cap similar to EEG. His head will be surrounded by electrodes, which will monitor the brainwaves.
  2. The activity of the brain will be converted into electronic signals and passed on to signal analyzer.
  3. The signal analyzer translates these signals and interprets the patient’s wishes into commands for the robot.
  4. After recieving the signal, the robot does the particular activity which the disabled person had wished for.

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