Colin Robinson

EEG Controlled Robot (Think Tank)


In Spring 2011, I teamed up with two friends (Josh and Woojin) to build a mind controlled robot as a class project. The original plan was to build our own an EEG machine but we weren’t able to get all the parts we needed in time. We tried to hack together an EKG machine as a test, and while it worked to a degree, it definitely wasn’t usable. We ended up buying the Emotiv Epoc ($300 for an EEG machine!).

My three main contributions to the project:

1) Write custom software to interpret the Epoc data and send it to an Android phone running a SSH server.

2) Write an Android app to receive commands over SSH and send electrical signals to an Arduino microcontroller via acoustic data transmission.

3) Program the microcontroller to receive the commands from the phone and mobilize the robot’s bipolar stepper motors accordingly (via a motor shield made up of dual H-bridges, which I also designed and built).

The project was a success. Josh volunteered to shave his head and be the operator. With all our technologies in sync, we had a robot that Josh could drive around the atrium using only his thoughts!


I can’t seem to find the report, all I have is this lame powerpoint. Once I get a hold of a copy from my teammates or the professor, I’ll be sure to update this page.

ThinkTankPresentation (PDF)



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