Control electronic devices with muscle movements? MIT scientists are trying.

In the recent hit American drama “Star Trek”, the protagonist Piccard chartered a starship, and the ship’s captain, Cristobal, only needed to wave to control the floating in the air. Now, scientists at MIT are trying to make this sci-fi scenario a reality. The technical team from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has developed an experimental device called Conduct-A-Bot, which controls the drone by reading the operator’s muscle signal to replace the existing operation of the main lymbar. But the scope that scientists can try now is limited to small drones.

Control electronic devices with muscle movements? MIT scientists are trying.

Photo: MIT official website

Conduct-A-Bot utilizes multiple electromyography sensors and motion sensors, and the user needs to wear the device in the right arm’s biceps, triceps and forearm positions. When the sensor is working, the system can identify signals of arm muscle activity and pass the data to the microprocessor located on the drone.

In the current setup, keeping the upper arm still allows the drone to stop, while clenching the fist represents moving forward. When the fist rotates clockwise or counterclockwise, the drone rotates, and if you wave up or down or left, the drone moves vertically or sideways, while adjusting the speed of the drone by turning the frequency.

“The device is designed to provide a new and more intuitive form of interaction between humans and drones. Joseph Del Preto, who led the study, said. It is understood that The Conduct-A-Bot system has preprogrammed each action to a specific code that transmits wireless signals to the drone during operation.

According to the research team, the system’s settings are generic and the commands can be applied to anyone. The operator can start operating simply by wearing a sensor without the system now calibrating it to a specific action.

Earlier, MIT had posted a video of the experiment on Youtube and some of the experimental data. In the video, it can be seen that the sensor worn by the technician is only the size of a bracelet. It guides the drone through the three plastic rings in the screen through specific gestures.

Control electronic devices with muscle movements? MIT scientists are trying.

Photo: MIT official website

“The system takes us a step closer to seamless collaboration with drones, so drones can be a more effective and intelligent tool in everyday tasks.” Joseph said in an interview. Now the research team is planning to apply this technology to a variety of different scenarios.

In the industrial sector, this technology can be combined with VR technology for better site surveys and remote inspection of various industrial infrastructure that is difficult to reach. In the field of daily life, the use of muscle signal control drones can help the elderly or disabled to more easily access items, etc.

But it’s not easy to really get the technology to the ground. According to the research team, the accuracy of the 1,500 signal feedback tested so far is about 82%, and there is still a lot of room for improvement if it is to be made into a practical industrial product.

But Joseph, who is the lead researcher, remains optimistic about the future of the technology, “We are working to improve the efficiency of the drone system, and the public will soon benefit from it.” He said, “As human-machine cooperation continues to become more and more popular, the benefits of synergies will continue to grow.” “

Journalist Sun Wenhao