Research ArticlePROSTHETICS

BMI control of a third arm for multitasking

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Science Robotics  25 Jul 2018:
Vol. 3, Issue 20, eaat1228
DOI: 10.1126/scirobotics.aat1228


Brain-machine interface (BMI) systems have been widely studied to allow people with motor paralysis conditions to control assistive robotic devices that replace or recover lost function but not to extend the capabilities of healthy users. We report an experiment in which healthy participants were able to extend their capabilities by using a noninvasive BMI to control a human-like robotic arm and achieve multitasking. Experimental results demonstrate that participants were able to reliably control the robotic arm with the BMI to perform a goal-oriented task while simultaneously using their own arms to do a different task. This outcome opens possibilities to explore future human body augmentation applications for healthy people that not only enhance their capability to perform a particular task but also extend their physical capabilities to perform multiple tasks simultaneously.

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