Only in Japan: A Robotic Third Arm In Addition to Your Other Two

Published July 31st, 2018 - 10:13 GMT
Robotic Third Arm (Twitter)
Robotic Third Arm (Twitter)

Japanese researchers from the Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute have created a new technique that allows users to control a robotic third arm while using their both hands in accomplishing other tasks.

Prior methods to control robotic arms required users to wear a cap with electrodes and perform an activity. Meanwhile, the system records the brain wave activity taking place. The system monitors the brain waves and compares them to the previously stored pattern recorded, once it detects the same brain wave pattern, it engages a robotic arm preprogrammed to mimic the actions done by the user in the first time, the German News Agency reported.

Researchers Christian Penaloza and Shuichi Nishio, who created the new system, said this technique relies on thinking only. This means the user has only to think of the movement he wishes to make and the robotic arm will automatically perform it. With the new technique, the user will be able to control three limbs at once; two natural and one artificial.



According to the Tech Xplore website, to test and demonstrate their system, the researchers asked volunteers to use the new system to balance a ball on a flat surface while also using a robotic arm to grab and move an empty soda bottle.

There were two groups of volunteers during the tests. Members of the first group were able to stop the ball from rolling off the flat surface while mentally requesting the robot to grab and move the bottle 85% of the time, while the other group’s volunteers were only able to accomplish the task 52% of the time.

It was not clear why some were more successful, but researchers suggest it had something to do with the volunteers.


This article has been adapted from its original source.

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