Is it really possible to control a robot with your mind? © Getty Images

Is it really possible to control a robot with your mind?

Yes! You will be my friend, Mr Robot! And it's not just government-funded projects that have this technology.

Asked by: Ryan Cooke, St Albans

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Yes it is. The USA’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has a brain-controlled prosthetic arm for upper limb amputees. As the user thinks about various movements, the arm picks up the responding brain signals that appear in the remaining nerves at the site of the amputation. With incredible dexterity, the user can remove a letter from an envelope and even move eggs from one box to another.

But away from government-funded research projects, hobbyist and engineer William (Chip) Audette in Vermont controls a small toy robot using his brainwaves. He’s using open hardware called OpenBCI where electrodes on his head pick up brainwaves. The level of control is crude but is proof that advances in EEG technology, machine learning and robotics really are ushering in an age where we can control devices through the power of thought.


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