Soldiers Control Robotic Dog by Thought

New technology is making mind reading possible with positive implications for the fields of healthcare, aerospace and advanced manufacturing. The technology was recently demonstrated by the Australian Army, where soldiers operated a Ghost Robotics quadruped robot using the brain-machine interface. Photo supplied by Australian Army. Researchers from the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) have developed biosensor technology that will allow you to operate devices, such as robots and machines, solely through thought-control. The advanced brain-computer interface was developed by Distinguished Professor Chin-Teng Lin and Professor Francesca Iacopi, from the UTS Faculty of Engineering and IT, in collaboration with the Australian Army and Defence Innovation Hub. As well as defence applications, the technology has significant potential in fields such as advanced manufacturing, aerospace and healthcare – for example allowing people with a disability to control a wheelchair or operate prosthetics.


The hands-free, voice-free technology works outside laboratory settings, anytime, anywhere. It makes interfaces such as consoles, keyboards, touchscreens and hand-gesture recognition redundant,” said Professor Iacopi. “By using cutting edge graphene material, combined with silicon, we were able to overcome issues of corrosion, durability and skin contact resistance, to develop the wearable dry sensors,” she said.

A new study shows that the graphene sensors developed at UTS are very conductive, easy to use and robust. The hexagon patterned sensors are positioned over the back of the scalp, to detect brainwaves from the visual cortex. The sensors are resilient to harsh conditions so they can be used in extreme operating environments. The user wears a head-mounted augmented reality lens which displays white flickering squares. By concentrating on a particular square, the brainwaves of the operator are picked up by the biosensor, and a decoder translates the signal into commands.

The technology was recently demonstrated by the Australian Army, where soldiers operated a Ghost Robotics quadruped robot using the brain-machine interface. The device allowed hands-free command of the robotic dog with up to 94% accuracy. “Our technology can issue at least nine commands in two seconds. This means we have nine different kinds of commands and the operator can select one from those nine within that time period,” Professor Lin said. “We have also explored how to minimise noise from the body and environment to get a clearer signal from an operator’s brain,” he said.

The researchers believe the technology will be of interest to the scientific community, industry and government, and hope to continue making advances in brain-computer interface systems.


Quantum Computer Controls One Billion Electrons Per Second One-by-One.

University of Adelaide-led research in Australia has moved the world one step closer to reliable, high-performance quantum computing. An international team has developed a ground-breaking single-electronpump”. The electron pump device developed by the researchers can produce one billion electrons per second and uses quantum mechanics to control them one-by-one. And it’s so precise they have been able to use this device to measure the limitations of current electronics equipment. This paves the way for future quantum information processing applications, including in defence, cybersecurity and encryption, and big data analysis.

This research puts us one step closer to the holy grail – reliable, high-performance quantum computing,” says project leader Dr Giuseppe C. Tettamanzi, Senior Research Fellow, at the University of Adelaide’s Institute for Photonics and Advanced Sensing.

Published in the journal Nano Letters, the researchers also report observations of electron behaviour that’s never been seen before – a key finding for those around the world working on quantum computing.

Quantum computing, or more broadly quantum information processing, will allow us to solve problems that just won’t be possible under classical computing systems,” says Dr Tettamanzi. “It operates at a scale that’s close to an atom and, at this scale, normal physics goes out the window and quantum mechanics comes into play.  To indicate its potential computational power, conventional computing works on instructions and data written in a series of 1s and 0s – think about it as a series of on and off switches; in quantum computing every possible value between 0 and 1 is available. We can then increase exponentially the number of calculations that can be done simultaneously.”