Tuesday, December 12, 2023

New device allows anyone to control a mini Gundam robot with their mind

If one of your dreams was to control a gigantic-sized Gundam robot, it would not be possible yet, but perhaps what you can do is control a miniature robot with your mind; at least in Japan, they have already achieved it.

Researchers at NeU, a joint venture between Tohoku University and Hitachi, have created a device that allows anyone to control a mini toy Gundam robot with their mind. Through a research collaboration between NeU and toymaker Bandai, they have succeeded in developing a prototype headband-like device that moves toymaker Bandai’s “ZEONIC TECHNICS” through controlling one’s brain activity.

Brain-controlled headband device.
Brain-controlled headband device.

To do this, the scientists modified a Zaku Gundam toy robot from Bandai’s “ZEONIC TECHNICS” company that allows users to manually program a robot using a mobile application. The mind-controlled headband device created by NeU researchers is actually a sensor of brain activity that can measure blood on the front of the brain flow. They then programmed their device to send brain activity data to the ZEONIC TECHNICS app in real-time that activates the robot’s movements.

It measures three different levels of brain activity, each linked to a particular movement sequence. Therefore, there is no total operational freedom, but it is interesting to see the simplicity of use and the speed with which the system translates mental activity into actions.

The work is actually based on a fictional mind control mechanism from the Gundam anime series called ‘Psycommu’, which allows humans to control the robots using their minds.

Although NeU‘s mind control system is still in the prototype stage, this is not Japan’s only recent foray into making Gundam’s “vision” a reality. As you well know, in Japan, they have practically ready a gigantic-sized Gundam robot that is being gradually trained to perform different movements.