During a demonstration at the Majura training facility, Sergeant Rana Chandan uses a unique brain-computer interface to control a Ghost Robotics quadruped robot. Sergeant Matt Bickerton in a photo

Robotic dogs may soon follow instructions from a person's brain, unlike biological dogs, which listen to speech orders like "sit," "fetch," and "stay."

On May 11, at Canberra's Majura Training Area, Sergeants Damian Robinson of the 5th Combat Service Support Battalion and Chandan Rana of the 1st/15th Royal New South Wales Lancers used their powers of concentration to direct a robot to several locations.

On Sergeant Robinson's augmented reality lens, several white squares representing waypoints flashed at various rates.

Sergeant Robinson's head had a biosensor at the rear that was prepared to pick up brainwaves from his visual cortex.

The biosensor found comparable brainwaves when Sergeant Robinson focused on a certain flicker, alerting the amplification circuit.

The signal was converted into instructions using an artificial intelligence decoder, which the robot dog subsequently carried out.

The technology was used by Sergeant Robinson and another soldier to control a Ghost Robotics quadriped robot using a commercial HoloLens running software produced by University of Technology Sydney (UTS) researchers.

The entire procedure is simple to learn. It makes perfect sense. It just required a few sessions, according to Sergeant Robinson.

An innovative brain-computer interface was shown by Australian Army Sergeant Rana Chandan, of the 1st/15th Royal NSW Lancers, in Canberra's Majura Training Area. Sergeant Matthew Bickerton in a photo

Normally, a handheld console is used to control the robot, however, in this instance, the operator's brainwave begins the orders. As a result, the operator can keep their weapon ready or perform other duties with their hands.

Sergeant Robinson participated in the program in April and used the system for eight sessions of two hours each.

During the presentation, Sergeant Robinson could direct the robot to travel to any one of six pre-programmed places by selecting one of the flickers.

To run the robot, he explained, "you don't need to think about anything in particular, but you do need to concentrate on that flicker."

"It's more of a visual focus issue."

The demonstration's goal was to persuade soldiers to consider how the Army may apply this technology in a tactical setting.

Since December 2020, researchers from UTS and the Army's Robotic and Autonomous Implementation and Coordination Office (RICO) have collaborated to study tactical uses for brain-computer interfaces.

Defence Innovation Hub, RICO, UTS, and Defence Science and Technology Group worked together in a four-way partnership on this investigation.

Distinguished Researchers at UTS, Professors Chin-Teng Lin and Francesca Iacopi, have achieved several advances in brain-computer interface technology.

Professor Lin discovered a method for reducing body and environmental noise to receive a clearer signal from an operator's brain.

Another improvement was the decoder's ability to send more commands in a given time frame.

The operator can choose one of the nine available instructions within that time frame, according to Professor Lin.

It makes our biosensor incredibly durable and reliable to use, according to Professor Iacopi.

Our biosensor is highly durable and sturdy to use because of the $1.2 million in research money that Defence awarded to UTS through the Defence Innovation Hub, according to Professor Iacopi.

Defense has funded UTS's research with $1.2 million through the Defense Innovation Hub.