Thursday, November 1, 2012

No. 635: Think, and you can operate a home appliance (November 2, 2012)

A smart house was shown to the public on November 1. In this house, you can operate a wheelchair and a home electric appliance only by forming your idea on how you want them to do. That is, the sensor attached to the head of the resident transmits the change of brain waves to the computer that gives instructions to a wheelchair. The smart house was developed jointly by Sekisui House, Shimadzu, and NTT. The research team plans to put the smart house technology into practical use in 2020.

The system utilizes the phenomenon that brain waves and the blood flow in the brain change when a man forms an idea. It detects the change of brain waves using light transmissive inside of the body. By comparing the data of brain waves with preinstalled data, it reads the instructions that the resident gives. Patterns of brain waves are stored in a database, and brain waves coming from the resident are compared with those in the database via the network. Various sensors of infrared light and ultrasonic wave are buried in the walls and ceilings of a detached house. A wheelchair and a home electric appliance can respond to the instructions in 6-13 seconds, and the probability that they can respond faithfully to them is between 70% and 80%.

The technology to operate a machine by reading brain waves is called brain machine interface “BMI” technology. Shimadzu has already succeeded in miniaturizing a device to read rain waves to the size mountable on a wheelchair. The smart house was aired by NHK. Please click here to see the video.

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