We like mash-ups here at Giant Freakin’ Robot, and it’s a good thing, because the world is full of them. Whereas a lot of the time it’s stuff like, “Star Wars meets Django Unchained” or something like that, this is a much more worthwhile and inspirational combination: Mind Control Meets Quadcopter. One night only! Sunday, Sunday, Sunday!
For a study recently published in the journal IOP Science, a University of Minnesota College of Science and Engineering research team led by Bin He devised a way to allow the navigation of a quadcopter completely hands-free, using only the power of the mind! Like most mind-controlled devices, this is powered (for lack of a better word) by an EEG cap fitted with 64 electrodes that transfer the wearer’s thoughts into quadcopter action.
No loop-the-loops just yet though. The three dimensional navigation is performed by the cap-wearer imagining making a fist. If he imagines clenching his left hand, the copter turns left, and the same for the right; when both hands are imagined to be in use, the device will rise and fall. It’s pre-set for forward momentum to keep things from getting too complicated this early on. A camera on top of the copter recorded its flight in real time, and I’m assuming the cap-wearer used that FPV to direct it. Though judging from his stone-solid facial expressions, it looks like his own brain might be controlled by someone else in the room. That, or he’s trying really hard not to just think about sex the whole time. Check out a video of the man-and-copter in action below, and rein in your jealousy over your living room not having big balloon rings in it.
It isn’t worth it to think about all the ways in which technology like this can be exploited in the wrong ways. But He and his team have more noble goals in mind (MIND!), such as assisting in robotic prosthetics, as well as assisting in repairing a host of cognitive malfunctions. Then and only then can we get the Tacocopter out here without having to worry about getting guacamole all over our remote controls.