The opportunity to have a own avatar is no longer just
the prerogative of science fiction films like Avatar or Pacific Rim. Liquidweb s.r.l. lead a group of companies and universities to create a humanoid robot
controlled by thought. The project, co-financed by the Tuscany Region, saw the
collaboration of different scientific and business organizations: Liquidweb (creator of
BRAINCONTROL, the heart of the system BCI of the project), leader of the
partnership, Humanot, Massimi sistemi, Micromecc and the University
The goal here is not to conquer a new world but regain
independence and mobility of communication of which has been deprived. In fact,
a humanoid robot can help people suffering from diseases such as quadriplegia,
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), multiple sclerosis, and muscular
dystrophies of various kinds in the performance of daily activities such as
"virtually" going around the house, watching the sunset from the
window or interact with loved ones.
The software that allows the user to interface with his
avatar is BRAINCONTROL (based on brain-computer interface technology), a sort
of mental joystick that allows to control the computer by thought.
To date the
communicator (Braincontol v1.0) is
commercially available and it is certified as a medical CE class I. It includes
a Sentences finder and a yes / no selector. This solution fills the
technological void for patients who have
cognitive abilities intact, but which are not able to move and communicate even
with the aid of other assistive technologies (eg.
Eye tracking), called "locked-in" state.
Braincontrol v1.0 is the first step of a broader process that has
the final goal to overcome not only communication disabilities, as evidenced by
the result just reached with BrainHuRo.