NAO Mind Control and other great hacks

The purpose behind this epic Hackathon was simple. Let’s get a bunch of people together from various disciplines and backgrounds outside of Robotics sphere, and see how we can cross-pollinate ideas. 

More than 50 people gathered to connect new devices to NAO and find new ways of interacting with him. 

Carl Clement, one of the organizer and also member of UKNAO, introduced the available devices and hardwares for the hackathon, notably:

  • Activ8rlives Pulse Oximeter Bluetooth 4.0, used to monitor pulmonary and cardiovascular functions
  • The Myo Armband by Thalmic labs which tracks arm movements and hand gestures and can also streams EEG data and connects via Bluetooth.
  • Emotiv EPOC Brain-computer interfaces. Based on EEG technology, this headset can monitor certain brain activity.
  • LightwaveRF, a wireless home automation technology that controls home heating, lighting and power.

To demonstrate their project, they organized a race with two NAOs, connecting them to Angelica’s and Mike’s brain through Emotiv devices. The calmer the competitor's brain activity was -  the faster their robot walked.

Other great projects were realized by the Hackathon teams. Some participants used the Activ8rlives Pulse Oximeter to analyze blood pressure data and give advices via the robots, either calming down the person or advising someone next to him/her. Another team team even programmed NAO to monitor breathing blockages during the sleep and send the data to NAO so he could wake up the person. 

Overall, the possibilities are endless. Cheap, easily-coded sensors are becoming easier and easier to create applications and services around. Add to this the human interface of NAO or Pepper and the future looks very interesting for us all.