Saturday, March 14, 2015

Thought-Controlled Drones

Researchers working on the Brainflight project have successfully demonstrated mind-control...

This is early days but it looks ok so far.  However, i personally think that we need to engage the limbic system and to establish additional feed back as well.  That is a tall order.

At some point you are depending on the computer to do most of the flying and that begs the question of why bother. We really do have better things to do beside been a passenger in a true robot.  We are essentially there now and have a loss rate that is already acceptable.

Otherwise it is good fun.  It is noteworthy that reports on some UFOs made note of a physical control system that was minimalist as we would expect to see shortly as well..  If thousands of years of development sees fit to use such, then perhaps we are biting of too much here.

Thought-controlled drones may be just the first step in aviation revolution

February 25, 2015 

Researchers working on the Brainflight project have successfully demonstrated mind-controlled drone flight

In what may be a just a taste of what's possible when you merge robotics and neuroscience, researchers from Portugal's Brainflight project have successfully demonstrated a drone flight piloted by human thought.

The Brainflight project is led by Portuguese technology firm Tekever with the backing of several science organizations across Europe and follows in the footsteps of similar research efforts carried out around the globe. Back in 2012, researchers at Zhejiang University in China were able to demonstrate a mind-controlled drone by slapping a electroencephalogram (EEG) headset on subjects to measure their brainwaves. More recently, a project at the University of Minnesota saw pilots able to control quadcopters by imagining opening or closing their fists.

The Brainflight also uses an EEG cap, which is fitted with electrodes to monitor brainwaves. 

Purpose-built algorithms then translate these brain waves into control commands for the drone, determining a flight path based on the activity of the brain and a mission defined by the researchers prior to takeoff. The team tested out the system using flight simulators for both manned aircraft and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). It then proceeded to carry out live flight testing with the UAV.

After a period of training their brains, the pilots were instructed to focus on moving a small circle on a screen up and down, which commanded the drone to move left and right. So enthused was the team by the success of the technique, it hopes that it could one day even be used to control commercial aircraft.

"This is an amazing high-risk and high-payoff project, with long-term impact that has already provided excellent results and will require further technology maturation," says Tekever Chief Operating Officer, Ricardo Mendes. "We truly believe that Brainflight represents the beginning of a tremendous step change in the aviation field, empowering pilots and de-risking missions, and we’re looking forward to deliver these benefits to the market with highly innovative products."

The thought of a packed 747 cruising across the Pacific Ocean controlled by somebody's thoughts is a little unsettling, but the rationale behind wanting to expand the technique to manned flight may not be as pie in the sky as it seems. The team believes that the system has the potential to make piloting an aircraft as intuitive as a regular activities like walking and running, in turn freeing up brainpower for higher thinking while also making the profession accessible to those with physical disabilities.

Other possible applications for the technology, as noted by Tekever, include offering new ways for disabled people to interact with their environments and controlling other vehicles such as cars, boats and trains.

Source: Tekever via BBC

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