From idea to application and back

Photo: Mathilde Bessert-Nettelbeck

The NeuroBots team develops robots that can be controlled by the power of thought. Now a video about their current state of research has come out...

NeuroBots is a project of the cluster of excellence BrainLinks-BrainTools that brings together experts from medicine, biology and computer science. „Our goal is to develop an assistance system for paralyzed patients and people with other disabilites which stays robust under everyday conditions.“, says principal investigator Prof. Dr. Wolfram Burgard. At the moment their robot-based system can distinguish between several beverages, will find and get them in a simulated apartment, pour the selected beverage into a cup and direct it to the test person’s mouth to drink. 

The questions on which the eleven-member team is working are diverse. For example they cover a couple of core topics and methods of artificial intelligence. In contrast to prostheses being controlled by motor signals, their system uses an extended method on the basis of human imagination. This sounds abstract and unfortunately it really is. To make the method understandable to laypersons, NeuroBots has cooperated with BrainLinks-BrainTools’ Reaching Out team. Out of this cooperation a memorable video has come into being:

Despite several successful setups of the experiment NeuroBots is still in its infancy. Burgard puts it straight: „The system is applicable to patients not until it can cope with the unpredictabilities of real life.“ The project runs out in 2018. With new excellence funding it might continue for another seven years. In such a timespan further steps into this direction could certainly be made.