Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Thought-Controlled Helicopter

Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Thought-Controlled Helicopter

Article excerpt

A model helicopter has been flown through a series of hoops around a college gymnasium in Minnesota, remote-controlled by thought. The experiments have been performed by researchers hoping to develop future robots that can help restore the autonomy of paralyzed victims or those suffering from neurodegenerative disorders. The project is explained in a study published in the Journal of Neural Engineering.

Each of five test subjects (three female, two male) successfully controlled the four-blade helicopter quickly and accurately for a sustained amount of time.

Lead author of the study, Professor Bin He of the University of Minnesota College of Science and Engineering, says: "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."

The noninvasive technique was electro-encephalography (EEG), which recorded the electrical activity of the subjects' brain through a cap fitted with 64 electrodes.

Facing away from the helicopter, the subjects were asked to imagine using their right hand, left hand, and both hands together; this would instruct the aircraft to turn right, left, lift, and then fall, respectively. The helicopter was driven with a pre-set forward moving velocity and controlled through the sky with the subject's thoughts. …

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