Brain-Controlled Robotic Legs Offer Hope for Paralyzed
A new brain-computer interface that controls a pair of mechanical leg braces could one day allow people with paralysis to walk again, scientists say.
The device is controlled by electroencephalogram, or EEG, signals generated by small voltage fluctuations in the brain. It has so far only been tested on able-bodied people with the aid of a cap worn on the scalp.
In experiments, a volunteer wore the cap while standing on a treadmill while wearing leg braces known as "robotic gait orthosis." The subject imagined walking or standing, and the device was able to associate each brain activity pattern with the correct action.
Despite some false alarms when the robotic legs walked when they weren't supposed to, the movement predictions were about 95 percent accurate, scientists at the Long Beach Veterans Affairs Medical Center and the University of California, Irvine, where the device was developed, said.