Meet Baxter: The Robot That Can Read Your Mind


The Massachusetts Institute of Technology recently introduced Baxter, a mind-reading humanoid robot that corrects its mistakes by reading your brain signals. With a face and grin like an innocent kid but arms like the Hulk, the robot is part of an experiment on human-robot interaction.

Baxter communicated with a woman wearing a cap strapped with electroencephalography (EEG) to record brain activity. The brain signals will then be translated by a system into a code that the robot can understand. In a way, it's like telepathically communicating with the robot.

Facing the woman, Baxter was given the task of sorting paints and wires and dropping them in two separate containers. The woman watches the robot and mentally agrees or disagrees with it. When the robot makes a mistake and the woman disagrees with it, her brain signals is interpreted by an algorithm and informs the robot, which readily corrects its mistakes.

Daniela Rus, director of the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) of MIT said that the robot adapts at how you think. She added that such technology will improve how we communicate with machines because we won't have to type or shout out a command. She also added how it will improve how we control factory robots and other future technologies with such a streamlined approach.

Rus' vision of the future seems very different than what some of the prominent scientists are echoing about robots stealing people's jobs in the future. With this kind of human-robot interaction, robots will work alongside humans making work much easier and more efficient.

Stephanie Gil, the co-author of the study and a roboticist at MIT, painted a more beautiful picture where the robot acts as an assistant or apprentice to humans, working with them naturally and seamlessly without having to bark orders or push buttons.

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