Researchers have developed robots that can be controlled by the user's thoughts and will be provide help for disabled people in future.
According to scientists, inventors and enthusiasts, robot avatars will provide a new level of freedom and interaction for the disabled, elderly, or bed-ridden that they do not currently enjoy.
AdvertisementThese avatars will "fill in" for those who are not able to physically attend - communicating for them, said science fiction author Robert Sawyer.
"This is liberating for the person [who is disabled]," Sawyer told Fox News.
Paul Wilford, a senior research director at New Jersey's Bell Labs, has developed a "telepresence" project called NetHead that will one day help the disabled to participate in meetings, join community groups, attend school functions, and even work in an office-all from a remote computer.
Robert Oschler, a freelance computer programmer, is developing a robot for the disabled. The robot can move around the room and communicate over a video feed.
The project, called Robodance 5, uses the Emotiv EPOC EEG headset to read facial movements, jaw clenches, and track eye movements.
"I trained the Emotiv system to react to my head and facial movements," said Oschler.
"The system can be trained to create usable triggers using the 14 electrodes and the built-in gyro accelerometer on the Emotiv. For a person with locked-in syndrome [who does not have any freedom of movement], they would train a completely different set of triggers," he added.
Other robotic systems are already helping those with disabilities. In the UK, a robot avatar named KASPAR (Kinesics and Synchronization in Personal Assistant Robotics), developed at the University of Hertfordshire, interacts with kids who have autism.