Honda has been demonstrating a helmut which allows a wearer to control the actions of an Asimov robot by thinking about a movement. Ian Sample, a science reporter for The Guardian reports that:
The helmet is the first "brain-machine interface" to combine two different techniques for picking up activity in the brain. Sensors in the helmet detect electrical signals through the scalp in the same way as a standard EEG (electroencephalogram). The scientists combined this with another technique called near-infrared spectroscopy, which can be used to monitor changes in blood flow in the brain.
Brain activity picked up by the helmet is sent to a computer, which uses software to work out which movement the person is thinking about. It then sends a signal to the robot commanding it to perform the move. Typically, it takes a few seconds for the thought to be turned into a robotic action.
While this technology might be adapted to facilitate many activities, such as opening the trunk of a car when one's hands are full, it is not ready yet for general use. One difficulty is filtering out distractions in the wearer's thinking. Differences between users' thought patterns mean that the system must be trained by a specific wearer of the helmet.
A video of the demonstration is available here.