Sunday, 8 December 2019

Fly With Your Thoughts!

Updated: March 21, 2015 1:52 pm

Why pilot a plane with your hands and feet when you can do it with your brain? Well soon with the help of a breakthrough development this could be possible

What if you can fly a plane with your thoughts like Ravana did in the Ramayana? This is not a mystical dream or some sequence of a sci-fi movie, but a scientifically-baked cake. Just like Pushpaka Vimana of Ravana, which would use mind power to fly, scientists have evolved the ancient-old legend into a reality. Portuguese technology firm Tekever has successfully tested this concept by flying a drone using thoughts. The firm has named this project Brainflight and with this advancement it is being estimated that one day the system could be used to control larger jets including cargo commercial planes.

The Brainflight works on the principle of electroencephalography (EEG). The device 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.

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“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,” he added.

This is not the first test but a follow-up 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 an electroencephalogram (EEG) headset on subjects to measure their brainwaves. More recently, a project at the University of Minnesota saw pilots being able to control quadcopters by imagining opening or closing their fists.

By Rohan Pal

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