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MIT Research News

November 18, 2019

Algorithm may improve brain-controlled prostheses and exoskeletons

An improved method for magnet tracking enables high-speed wireless tracking through various materials.

Stephanie Strom | MIT Media Lab

A team of researchers at the MIT Media Lab has devised an algorithm that promises to vastly improve the simultaneous tracking of any number of magnets. This has significant implications for prostheses, augmented reality, robotics, and other fields.

Graduate student Cameron Taylor, lead researcher on the approach in the Media Lab’s Biomechatronics group, says the algorithm dramatically reduces the time it takes for sensors to determine the positions and orientations of magnets embedded in the body, wood, ceramics, and other materials.

“I’ve been dreaming for years about a minimally invasive approach to controlling prostheses, and magnets offer that potential,” says Hugh Herr, professor of media arts and sciences at MIT and head of the Biomechatronics group. “But previous techniques were too slow to track tissue movement in real time at high bandwidth.”