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Walk this way! Hi-tech firm proves its power

 
Robbie the Robot
User ID: 38354
United Kingdom
11/01/2005 12:28 PM
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Walk this way! Hi-tech firm proves its power
Walk this way! Hi-tech firm proves its power
By Karla Adam
Published: 01 November 2005

Japan is renowned for its hi-tech gadgets but it has crossed a new frontier with the prospect of remotely controlling humans.

Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp (NTT) has invented a headset that can move people from left to right at the flick of a joystick. The headset delivers a weak electrical current just behind the ear affecting the vestibular system, which controls movement and balance.

Galvanic vestibular stimulation (GVS) has been around for years, but is only now gaining attention with the new research. When an electrical current is fired, the body shifts its balance towards the electrode. If the current is strong enough, the person with a headset will walk in the direction the charge was sent.

NTT showed off its headset at a recent computer graphics conference in Los Angeles, where participants eagerly signed up to be controlled from a small radio transmitter.

Yuri Kageyama, an Associated Press reporter who tried out the headset at NTT´s research centre in Japan said he found the experience "unnerving and exhausting" and likened it to being drunk. It felt like an "invisible hand" reaching inside the brain, he added.

The technology builds on similar research by the Cyberkinetics company, which helps paralysed patients play video games through the electrical currents created by thoughts, andresearchers from State University in New York, who manipulated the movements of rats by threading their brains with electric wires. The NTT researchers say they have no immediate plans for commercial development but are considering the possibilities for video gaming.

Japan is renowned for its hi-tech gadgets but it has crossed a new frontier with the prospect of remotely controlling humans.

Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp (NTT) has invented a headset that can move people from left to right at the flick of a joystick. The headset delivers a weak electrical current just behind the ear affecting the vestibular system, which controls movement and balance.

Galvanic vestibular stimulation (GVS) has been around for years, but is only now gaining attention with the new research. When an electrical current is fired, the body shifts its balance towards the electrode. If the current is strong enough, the person with a headset will walk in the direction the charge was sent.

NTT showed off its headset at a recent computer graphics conference in Los Angeles, where participants eagerly signed up to be controlled from a small radio transmitter.
Yuri Kageyama, an Associated Press reporter who tried out the headset at NTT´s research centre in Japan said he found the experience "unnerving and exhausting" and likened it to being drunk. It felt like an "invisible hand" reaching inside the brain, he added.

The technology builds on similar research by the Cyberkinetics company, which helps paralysed patients play video games through the electrical currents created by thoughts, andresearchers from State University in New York, who manipulated the movements of rats by threading their brains with electric wires. The NTT researchers say they have no immediate plans for commercial development but are considering the possibilities for video gaming.
[link to news.independent.co.uk]

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