Scientists navigate car with thought power

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

LONDON - Computer scientists have developed a new system that helps you steer a car with your thought power alone.

Using commercially available sensors to measure brain waves, scientists were able to distinguish the bioelectrical wave patterns for control commands such as “left”, “right”, “accelerate” or “brake” in a test subject.

They then succeeded in developing an interface to connect the sensors to their otherwise purely computer-controlled vehicle, so that it can now be “controlled” via thoughts.

Freie Universitt scientists in Germany first used the sensors for measuring brain waves in such a way that a person can move a virtual cube in different directions with the power of his or her thoughts, according to a Freie Universitt statement.

The test subject thinks of four situations that are associated with driving, for example, “turn left” or “accelerate”.

In this way, the person trained the computer to interpret bioelectrical wave patterns emitted from his or her brain and to link them to a command that could later be used to control the car.

The computer scientists connected the measuring device with the steering, accelerator, and brakes of a computer-controlled vehicle, which made it possible for the subject to influence the movement of the car just using his or her thoughts.

“In our test runs, a driver equipped with EEG (Electroencephalography) sensors was able to control the car with no problem,” said Professor Ral Rojas, who heads the AutoNOMOS project at Freie Universitt Berlin.

In a second test version, the car drove largely automatically, but via the EEG sensors the driver was able to determine the direction at intersections.

Filed under: Science and Technology

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