Brainflight: Operate a Drone with Only Your Mind

Posted by Betsy Lillian on February 26, 2015 No Comments

Researchers have created a system that allows a drone operator to control the aircraft with only his or her brain.

Called the Brainflight project, the system is being developed by an international team: Portugal's Tekever, the Netherlands' Eagle Science, Portugal's Champalimaud Foundation and Germany's Technische Universität München.

According to a blog from Tekever, Brainflight was demonstrated in Lisbon, Portugal, by Tekever and Champalimaud, who used “high-performance electroencephalogram (EEG) systems to measure brain waves noninvasively and then use[d] specially conceived algorithms to convert brain signals into drone commands.”

The operator, who wears a special cap that monitors his or her brain, moves the aircraft “using nothing but simple thoughts,” says Tekever.

“The project has successfully demonstrated the use of the brain computer interface (BMI) on a simulator for the Diamond DA42 aircraft, where one pilot controlled the simulator through the Brainflight system,” says Ricardo Mendes, chief operating officer of Tekever, in the blog. “We’re now taking it one step further and performing live flight tests with the UAV.”

According to Tekever, the project could eventually benefit those involved in all types of aviation, where they would be able to “focus on higher cognitive activities while still being able to operate such a complex system as an aircraft.” Other uses include assistance in piloting modes of transportation – boats, trains, etc. – so that the operator can bring “greater attention and focus on instruments or surroundings.”

The team also sees potential for those with physical disabilities, where they could “interact with their surroundings in an easier way.”

The full blog post can be found here.

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