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Albert Ulanday
Works at VTech Technologies Canada
Attended Lakehead University
Lives in Vancouver
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Up in the morning, biked to the tennis court for 2+ hours of tennis. After a quick rest at home, off to Granville Island to pick up some fresh oysters and a quick shucking lesson. Now, biking home along the seawall. #thePerfectSaturday #IloveThisCity
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Our communications methods and ways of reproducing and manipulating audio have greatly advanced in technical complexity since this simple recording. I find today's technology fascinating. It must've been amazing for Bell to live and research audio during his time, to hear a human voice when no one in the room was speaking.
 
Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor of the telephone, may have died over 90 years ago, but you can still hear his voice today. Smithsonian researchers recovered Bell's voice from a historical recording by using optical technology.
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Uh oh.  Nothing could possibly go wrong by connecting my brain with that of a robot... :)
 
I Controlled a Telepresence Robot with My Mind.
Simply by concentrating I was able to get a remote telepresence robot to move where I wanted, in a manner of speaking.

In the video below I demonstrate the use of an assembly of technologies that I put together that enables me to exert mind control over the telepresence robot that I have demonstrated previously (itself an assembly of a range of technologies). The key addition to the earlier assembly and demonstration of the remote telepresence robot (which can be found here: http://youtu.be/lJTU3fLoZuY) is the use of an Emotiv EPOC headset, which is able to sense, record, and transmit information concerning "brain waves" or EEG signals from my brain. 

Using this I am able to direct my attention to particular areas of the computer screen and, by concentrating and training the Emotiv software to associate particular brain states with particular actions such as left-clicking the mouse, I am able to use my mind to control the little robot - whose "eyes and ears" I can see and hear out of via the streaming video feed displayed on the computer. 

I have only trained with the Emotic EPOC headset for a relatively brief period and this form of mind control is still very difficult - it is a lot harder than it looks in this video. There were occasions where quite a bit of time would elapse between successful movements - you can see the transitions between each movement of the robot, which I have edited because some of them were nearly a minute long. If you are going to attempt this yourself you should be prepared for some occasional frustration! As such there is much more training required before I could claim "competent" control with fluid and responsive action of the robot from my thoughts. 

But, while I freely admit that this is a rudimentary, crude, and inelegant implementation, as demonstrated in the video it still works and is nonetheless a good little proof-of-concept. In fact I might even claim a limited and primitive form of telekinesis by moving a hunk of matter with my mind, purely in homage to Arthur C. Clarke and any sufficiently advanced technology being indistinguishable from magic

So, it is 2012 and for a few hundred bucks you too can put together your own mind-controlled telepresence robot system. Robot Surrogates and Avatars await!

Of course, if you’re part of a professional laboratory with some funding and very smart team you can use a very similar system to exert mind control over a flying AR Drone quadcopter, as this group has done here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JH96O5niEnI 


_________________________________________
A few extra notes:

* The headset has an accelerometer and can do pretty damn precise head tracking, and you can use this to substitute for the computer mouse.

* Examples of mind-states that I trained are concentrating on the left side of my head / body or the right side, or applying “mental pressure” to my forehead and imagining pushing fluid from my brain through my forehead. Sounds easy. But to actually maintain it for decent periods of time is difficult. If it gets too difficult you can default to using facial expressions instead, e.g. smiling, blinking, etc, which the headset picks up very easily. 

* One type of difficulty is your own emotional response. So when I was successful in concentrating and moving the robot for the very first time - seeing an external material object move just by thinking about it - I had such a surge of elation, surprise, humour, and excitement that it destroyed my mind state and made it impossible for me to exert any control for many minutes afterwards. 

* Leading on from this, I’m pretty sure that if there was a feedback mechanism from the robot via sensors, e.g. a touch sensor that conveyed when the robot had been touched to an actuator or electrodes that delivered a signal to my skin, then interesting things would start happening to my body map and sense of self. 

* I’ve been in discussions with Peter Mora, lead developer of the WebKey application software / web service that I’ve used to enable this telepresence robot solution and he had indicated that he might try to include the ability to map sections of the screen (via the web-interface) to keys on the keyboard. In this way forward, backward, left, right, etc could be the arrow keys or the WASD keys, which would allow for more intuitive control, not just for the normal control of the telepresence robot, but particularly for the mind-control version that I discuss here; different mind states could be mapped to each key for example and so moving the robot would be somewhat more intuitive (ideally - you would have to be very well trained though). 
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Excited to watch #Curiosity land.  Have you seen +NASA 's 7 Minutes of Terror video? All that's missing is the movie trailer voice-over. Science!

#Fireworks in #Vancouver tonight, Mars Rover landing tomorrow night.  Happy B.C. Day long weekend, British Columbia.
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I've tried so many different technologies for reading books over the years (computers, e-readers, tablets, etc), often adopting new technologies early. I have yet to find anything that provides better value than dropping into my library when I'm in the area.
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My new, old #Yukata which I found last week at a Japanese bazaar. Only $5 for this sweet summer robe! I'm not sure if it's for men, but I'm wearing it anyway. #frugalFinds
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Looking good!
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"The programmers of tomorrow are the wizards of the future"
 
An incredibly important message for today's kids... forward this to one!
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Congratulations, Nasa, for an unbelievable landing.  This was truly exhilarating to watch! Loved watching the emotion in the control room after receiving confirmation of landing. #MSL #NASA #sciencesunday  
 
The Mars Curiosity rover sees its shadow in this image from inside Gale Crater on Mars.
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Panning at the Tour de White Rock yesterday
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Story
Tagline
electrical engineer, value hunter, and still learning
Introduction
That Vancouver guy who loves the Technology of Communications; from tin-can-telephones to interplanetary satellites.
Education
  • Lakehead University
    Bachelor Degree in Electrical Engineering, 2003 - 2005
  • British Columbia Institute of Technology
    Diploma in Electronics Engineering Technology - Telecommunications, 2000 - 2001
Basic Information
Gender
Male
Work
Employment
  • VTech Technologies Canada
    present
Places
Map of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has lived
Currently
Vancouver
Previously
Thunder Bay
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