35 Years Ago, Researchers Used Brain Waves to Control a Robot


Utilizing the mind to instantly management an object was lengthy the stuff of science fiction, and in 1988 the imaginative and prescient turned a actuality.

IEEE Life Senior Member Stevo Bozinovski and Members Mihail Sestakov and Dr. Liljana Bozinovska used a pupil volunteer’s electroencephalogram (EEG) mind indicators to maneuver a robotic alongside a closed-circuit observe. Bozinovski and Sestakov had been electrical engineering and laptop science professors at Saints Cyril and Methodius University, in Skopje, North Macedonia. Bozinovska, a doctor, taught within the college’s medical faculty. Their achievement has paved the way in which for EEG-controlled wheelchairs and exoskeletons.

IEEE commemorated their work with an IEEE Milestone throughout a ceremony on the college on 10 October.

“The accomplishment is just not solely significant domestically,” Vladimir Atanasovski mentioned on the dedication ceremony. “It displays advantages for your complete humanity.” Atanasovski is dean of the college’s electrical engineering and data applied sciences faculty.

“It was at this very faculty, 35 years in the past, the place a relationship between two beforehand distant areas [robotics and EEG signals] was fashioned,” he added. “This exceptional work confirmed that science fiction can grow to be a actuality.

“Controlling a robotic utilizing human mind indicators for the primary time superior each electrical and laptop engineering and science, led to worldwide analysis on brain-computer interfaces, and opened an express communication channel between robots and people.”

Utilizing engineering to reveal psychokinesis

Bozinovski, Sestakov, and Bozinovska constructed a system to ship instructions to a robotic primarily based on EEG sign processing. The tactic is noninvasive; all it’s important to do is place electrodes on a volunteer’s scalp.

The three researchers used a Movit Line Tracer II robotic they constructed from a equipment from Japanese equipment store Elehobby, now known as Elekit. The robotic had two plastic discs that sat on high of one another and held the digital parts between them. Its two wheels had been managed with a begin/cease mechanical swap.

“Engineers are the driving drive in each nation, contributing to the welfare and progress of societies.”—Stevo Pendarovsk

The robotic, powered by batteries, drove on a observe drawn on a flat floor, based on the Milestone proposal entry on the Engineering Technology and History Wiki.

However the researchers nonetheless didn’t understand how they had been going to translate the mind indicators into instructions. Bozinovska steered utilizing the EEG’s distinguished alpha-range frequency of 8 to 12 hertz—referred to as the mu rhythm. It’s a synchronized sample {of electrical} exercise within the a part of the mind that controls voluntary motion. The frequency will increase when an individual is relaxed and never shifting.

Bozinovska’s principle was that the sample would command the Line Tracer. Individuals trying to manage the robotic would obtain leisure by closing their eyes. To cease the robotic from shifting, they’d carry out a voluntary motion comparable to opening their eyes.

Bozinovski, Sestakov, and Bozinovska designed an experiment to check her principle.

Transferring a robotic utilizing mind indicators

Two rooms had been constructed to conduct the experiment. One was known as the “robotic area,” and had a desk on which sat an oblong closed-circuit observe with markings the place the robotic can be commanded to cease.Saints Cyril and Mehtodius College/IEEE

Bozinovski and Sestakov constructed two rooms within the faculty’s Laboratory of Clever Machines and Bioinformation Programs to conduct the experiment. One was known as the “robotic area,” as Bozinovski described it within the Milestone entry. Within the room was a desk on which sat an oblong closed-circuit observe with markings the place the robotic can be commanded to cease.

The second room housed the expertise together with analog-to-digital and digital-to-analog converters, an IBM XT personal computer, a transistor amplifier, and a differential biomedical amplifier, which measured the voltage distinction between the mind’s amplitude and frequency and the time it took for them to alter. Bozinovski and Sestakov changed the mechanical swap with an EEG-emulated management swap that was linked to the transistor amplifier. The scholar volunteer sat within the second room.

A window linked the 2 rooms. Wires from the D/A converter hooked up to the robotic hung from the ceiling, nicely out of the way in which of the robotic’s motion.

Electrodes had been positioned on the highest and middle of the volunteer’s head, close to the medial parietal cortex—the a part of the mind that completes visible scene processing. Extra had been positioned behind the suitable ear, close to the mastoid, which perceives visible sensations. Others had been positioned on the brow, to gather the bottom electrical sign, from which the differential biomedical amplifier may detect if the frequency elevated.

To maneuver the robotic, the scholar relaxed, with eyes closed. The differential biomedical amplifier recorded the EEG indicators and inputted them into the pc with the assistance of the A/D converter set at 300 Hz. Recognition software program created by Bozinovski and Sestakov translated the indicators right into a go command. The pc then despatched a 5-volt logic pulse by means of the D/A converter—which the transistor amplifier magnified and despatched to the robotic. The volunteer was in a position to cease the Line Tracer by opening their eyes.

Bozinovski, Sestakov, and Bozinovska offered their findings on the 1988 IEEE International Engineering in Medicine and Biology Conference.

North Macedonia’s president on the significance of engineers

“Engineers are the driving drive in each nation, contributing to the welfare and progress of societies,” Stevo Pendarovski, president of North Macedonia, mentioned on the dedication ceremony.

“Let this genuinely distinctive occasion of nice significance for Macedonian engineering specifically, but in addition for Macedonian science and society as a complete, be an inspiration for all college students, professors, and future engineers,” Pendarovski mentioned, “to create and contribute to constructing a contemporary and technologically superior world.”

IEEE President Saifur Rahman additionally attended the ceremony.

A plaque recognizing the expertise is displayed exterior the Saints Cyril and Methodius College electrical engineering college constructing. The Laboratory of Clever Machines and Bioinformation Programs, the place the Milestone was achieved, is within the constructing. It reads:

In 1988, within the Laboratory of Clever Machines and Bioinformation Programs, human mind indicators managed the motion of a bodily object (a robotic) for the primary time worldwide. This linked electroencephalogram (EEG) indicators collected from a mind with robotics analysis, opening a brand new channel for communication between people and machines. EEG-controlled units (wheelchairs, exoskeletons, and many others.) have benefited quite a few customers and expanded expertise’s position in fashionable society.

Administered by the IEEE Historical past Heart and supported by donors, the Milestone program acknowledges excellent technical developments world wide.

The IEEE North Macedonia Section sponsored the nomination.

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