Toyota and Scientists Collaborate on Mind-Controlled Wheelchair Technology

Mind-Controlled Wheelchair Technology

Toyota, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of cars and light trucks, is venturing into brain-machine interface (BMI) technology. They have developed an innovative brain wave control system that can analyze a wheelchair driver’s brain waves in as little as 125 milliseconds, a significant improvement over the several seconds required by existing technologies. This rapid analysis allows brainwave results to be displayed on a panel almost instantaneously, ensuring drivers do not experience any noticeable delay.

The system is designed to adapt to each driver’s unique characteristics, enhancing its ability to accurately interpret commands. Remarkably, the system has achieved a 95 percent accuracy rate, making it one of the most reliable in the world. Toyota plans to apply this technology primarily in medical and nursing care management, aiming to assist the elderly and physically handicapped in maneuvering wheelchairs, and to play a significant role in rehabilitative medicine.

270847 wheelchair brain waves

BTCC’s new system integrates RIKEN’s advanced blind signal separation and space-time-frequency filtering technology, which contributes to the system’s rapid brain-wave analysis. This technology not only processes brain waves quickly but also adjusts itself to individual drivers, making it highly efficient at learning and executing commands such as moving forward, right, or left.

Future developments include expanding the range of commands and improving the efficiency of dry electrodes. While current research focuses on brain waves related to imaginary hand and foot movements, further analysis could enable the system to interpret a broader array of brain waves associated with different mental states and emotions.

Although Toyota has not yet indicated if this technology will be adapted for use in motor vehicles, it holds potential for helping drivers with physical disabilities control cars. However, this technology is expected to be useful in the field of rehabilitation, and for physical and psychological support of wheelchair drivers.

Mind-controlled wheelchairs from University of Texas at Austin

Researchers from the University of Texas at Austin have demonstrated that paralyzed individuals can operate mind-controlled wheelchairs in a training experiment. The study is published in iScience.

wheelchair controlled
Source: iScience

Brain-machine interfaces (BMIs) measure and analyze brain signals, translate the signals into commands and relay these commands to an output device, which can then perform the desired action. An example output device is a mind-controlled wheelchair that could support paralyzed individuals in becoming more mobile.

At baseline (training session one), the participants demonstrated similar levels of accuracy (43–55%) using the BMI-controlled wheelchair. However, throughout the training program they found that this accuracy could be improved. Participant one’s accuracy increased to 95% by the end of the training, and participant three’s accuracy reached 98% mid-way through the program.

Shashank Sharma
Shashank is a tech expert and writer with over 8 years of experience. His passion for helping people in all aspects of technology shines through his work. He is also the author of the book "iSolution," designed to assist iPhone users. Shashank has completed his master's in business administration, but his heart lies in technology & Gadgets.

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