Psychic Robot “Knows” Your IntentEngineering360 News Desk | October 09, 2015
Bioengineers working at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) have developed a mathematical algorithm that “sees” intention while performing an ordinary action, even if the action becomes interrupted.
Justin Horowitz, UIC graduate student research assistant and first author of the study, says that when something unexpected happens, the signal going to a person’s hand can’ t change for at least one tenth of a second, if at all it changes. Horowitz analyzed the movement of research subjects as they reached for an object, but had their hand pushed in a different direction. He was able to develop a mathematical algorithm that analyzed the action and estimated the subject's intent, even when a disturbance and no-follow through occurred.
The algorithm predicts the way the human subject intended to move. Taken further, this analysis could be used for driving applications. For example, if a patch of ice is encountered and the car begins to swerve, the driver wants the car to know where he or she intended it to go so that the car can correct. Horowitz says that sensors process information faster than humans can react.
Called a psychic robot, the algorithm could be used to design machines to correct a swerving car or a stroke patient with spasticity.