"Don’t mind me. Just flying a drone with my thoughts."
A brain-controlled drone demonstration in Portugal this week showed off the latest advancements in the burgeoning field of remote-controlled flight.
By simply “willing” the drone to fly up and down while watching a live feed of what its camera saw, the pilot, donning a science-fiction-looking EEG cap, was able to keep the vessel in the air. According to the BBC, the cap measures brain activity and translates it to commands that are sent to the drone.
Tekever, the company behind this first-of-its-kind public demo, says that the technology on display is still being developed but should soon be able to help handicapped individuals who are unable to use regular handheld controls to pilot drones. And one day, assuming that regulations allow, pilotless, brain-controlled passenger flights could become a reality.
"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," Tekever Chief Operating Officer Ricardo Mendes told the BBC.
A breakthrough in brain-controlled prosthetics was documented last year when Leslie Baugh, a double amputee, became the first person to operate two robotic arms with just his mind. Like the thought-controlling drone pilots, Baugh had to train his mind to properly operate the technology. Instead of wearing a cap that measured his brain activity, however, Baugh underwent a much more intensive nerve surgery.
Impressive technology from the minds of some smart people. Keep it coming, we say.