The space environment is inherently hostile and dangerous for astronauts. For this reason, extra-vehicular activity (EVA) should be limited and replaced by robotic systems as much as possible. In addition, it would be desirable to optimize the interface between astronauts and external semi-automatic manipulators and devices. Both the rather rigid space suit and the zero-g environment considerably limit the mobility of the astronaut and hence a reliable hand-free interface would augment both the astronaut's performance and safety.
Currently the application of BMIs are under consideration in diverse fields such as entertainment (computer games) and medicine (prosthetic devices). It is to be expected that BMI technology will experience great progress in the near future.
As human physiology is greatly influenced during space travel our current aim is to examine the applicability of BMIs in micro gravity condition.
In order to assess the effects of microgravity on current BMIs, two members of the ACT and two members of the EPFL institute on Brain Machine Interfaces (IDIAP) performed the first experiment in microgravity, on the Novespace A300-G aircraft. In 31 parabolas with 22 seconds of weighlessness each we examined how Brain Machine Interfaces work under these very particular conditions. Read more