Controlling an Exoskeleton Using a Brain-Computer Interface

Controlling an Exoskeleton Using a Brain-Computer Interface

By Shinji Tutoru

KOREA UNIVERSITY, SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA AND TECHNICAL UNIVERSITY OF BERLIN, BERLIN, GERMANY. A brain-computer control interface for a lower limb exoskeleton was developed to decode specific signals from within the user’s brain. Individuals with high spinal cord injuries or motor neuron diseases can benefit from this innovation since they have difficulties using their limbs or communicating.

Professor Klaus-Robert Muller and a group of scientists were inspired to assist disabled individuals. They needed to develop a brain control interface that can intuitively control an exoskeleton system. An electroencephalogram (EEG) cap is being used. The system allows users to sit and stand, turn left and right and move forward by simply staring at one of the five flickering LED lights.

Every single light emits diode flickers at a specific frequency. When a user focuses his or her attention to a specific LED light, that particular frequency is reflected in the EEG readout. The signal is then identified and used to control the exoskeleton.

One of the main challenges in exoskeletons is that they create a lot of noise. The EEG signal gets covered and concealed by the noise created. The team’s system can separate not just the EEG signal but also the frequency of the flickering LED within the signal.

People with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) or other motor neuron diseases can utilize this brain-computer interface in decoding what they want to convey or express from their brain signals. It can be an immensely useful way for them to walk or communicate again. The control system is technically simple and is a plausible add-on to other devices with hardware and EEG caps that are already emerging on the market.

Currently, the researchers are finding ways on reducing the visual fatigue that is associated with the long-term use of this system.

Invention Controlling an Exoskeleton Using a Brain-Computer Interface
Organization Korea University and Technical University of Berlin
Researcher Professor Klaus-Robert Muller & Team
Field(s) Neural Engineering, Neuroscience, Brain-Computer Interface
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