Diagnostic robot, neuro-rehab walker on display at ‘Summer Davos’

Also on display at the "Summer Davos" were other BMI-related research results, especially AI-powered assistive medicine, which scientists said is already applied in a number of hospitals.

Chinese researchers unveiled what is reportedly the nation’s first robot capable of diagnosing depression at the 14th Annual Meeting of the New Champions that ended in northern China’s coastal city Tianjin yesterday.

Also known as World Economic Forum’s “Summer Davos,” the conference showcased a number of most-up-to-date tech innovations from local universities.

According to CCTV, the state broadcaster, the diagnostic robot is developed based on the brain-machine interface (BMI) technologies from Tianjin University.

Users wear a non-invasive electrode cap to have their brain wave signals collected.

The cap then converts the signals into digital signals and feeds them to a smart chip.

The chip will process the data and decide whether the users show symptoms of depression, and to what extent.

A 2022 survey of 6,670 Chinese adults shows that some 6.8% of them suffered from depression at least once in their life, while another 3.4% reported battling the mental disorder in the past 12 months.

China has an estimated 95 million victims of varying degrees of depression, the survey adds.

Screenshot from CCTV news report

Also on display at the “Summer Davos” were other BMI-related research results, especially AI-powered assistive medicine, which scientists said is already applied in a number of hospitals.

A highlight among them is a neurorehab system tailored to mobility-impaired patients. Victims of lower extremity handicaps can wear an electrode cap to gather their electroencephalogram (EEG) signals.

As with the depression screening robot, these signals are then processed into digital signals to be analyzed on a computer.

Afterward, the computer will issue commands to a wearable exoskeleton to help patients perform desired therapeutic exercises.

“This neural assistive mobility system has been adopted for clinical application at various hospitals,” Zhang Haixia, a researcher at Nankai University, told CCTV.

“Even if it didn’t achieve the expected rehab effects, the exoskeleton would help the user walk again,” she noted.

Avatar photo
Ni Tao

Ni Tao is the founder and editor-in-chief of cnrobopedia. Prior to cnrobopedia, he had a full decade of experience with a major state-run English-language newspaper as a tech reporter and opinion writer. He is also a communications specialist, having provided consultancy services to established firms like Siemens, Philips, ABinBev, Diageo, Trip.com Group (Nasdaq: TCOM, HK: 9961), Jianpu Technology (NYSE: JT) and a handful of domestic startups. A graduate of Fudan University, he writes widely about China's business and tech scenes and other topics for global publications including South China Morning Post, SupChina, The Diplomat, CGTN, Banking Technology, among others, and tries to impart his experience to students at Fudan University Journalism School, where he is a part-time lecturer. When he's not writing about robotics, you can expect him to be on his beloved Yanagisawa saxophones, trying to play some jazz riffs, often in vain and occasionally against the protests of an angry neighbor. Get in touch with him by dropping a line at nitao0927@gmail.com.

Articles: 675