Tiny Helicopter Piloted By Human Thoughts


You may have had remote controlled airplanes growing up, but they probably weren’t as cool as the quadcopter.

This tiny helicopter looks a lot like a toy, but it’s really a high-tech robot controlled exclusively by human thought.

Developed by a team of researchers at the University of Minnesota, the four-blade helicopter, or quadcopter, can be quickly and accurately controlled for a sustained amount of time using the electrical impulses associated with a subject’s thoughts.

The team used a noninvasive technique known as electroencephalography (EEG) to record the electrical brain activity of five different subjects. Each subject was fitted with a cap equipped with 64 electrodes, which sent signals to the quadcopter over a WiFi network

The subjects were positioned in front of a screen that relayed images of the quadcopter’s flight through an on-board camera, allowing them to see the course the way a pilot would. The plane, which was driven with a pre-set forward moving velocity, was then controlled by the subject’s thoughts.

By imagining that they were using their right hand, left hand and both hands together, subjects controlled the flight path of the plane. If they imagined raising their left hand, for example, the plane turned left. If they imagined raising their hands together, the plane lifted higher in the air.

Once they got the hang of it, subjects were able to fly the quadcopter through foam rings scattered around the indoor course.

“Our study shows that for the first time, humans are able to control the flight of flying robots using just their thoughts, sensed from noninvasive brain waves,” said Bin He, lead scientist behind the study and a professor with the University of Minnesota’s College of Science and Engineering.

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via Tech News Daily

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Subjects Move Virtual Chopper With Thoughts

EEG with 32 elektrodes

Image via Wikipedia

Lets people use EEG to move a computerized helicopter through virtual rings on a 3-D obstacle course.

Subjects using a new software package were able to control the movement of a virtual helicopter through an obstacle course using their thoughts alone.

For years scientists have been developing ways for people to control objects using only brainwaves. Researchers use EEG to measure electrical activity along a person’s scalp. These electrical signals can move a computer cursor, play video games and perform other two-dimensional tasks.

Now a team of University of Minnesota engineers has upped the ante with software that lets people use EEG to move a computerized helicopter through virtual rings on a 3-D obstacle course.

To test the software, researchers had three subjects wear caps laden with EEG sensors and hooked up to a computer. The subjects moved the virtual helicopter forward by imagining their arms moving forward. When they imagined no movement, the helicopter moved backwards. Imagining the movement of their left or right hands caused the helicopter to rotate in either direction.

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