When you think that flying a miniature helicopter solely through using your brains is impossible, then think again! I recently found out about this company called Neurosky and how it has now come up with a miniature helicopter that users can control through their brains.
Neursoky is a company that specialises in “bridging the gap between technology and the human body.” Its instruments measure brainwave EEG and heartbeat ECG signals to help entertain, relax or exercise our vital organs. Neurosky essentially creates bio-sensors which help detect brainwaves and body sensations. Together with its partners, Neurosky has developed products that help converting body signals into concrete actions such as flying a miniature helicopter or using a mobile phone.
Whilst I’m still learning more about how the underlying technology works, let me make a start here:
- Brain Computer Interface technology – Brain Computer Interface (‘BCI’) technology is what underpins Neurosky’s products. BCI essentially takes electrical brainwaves and processes them into digital signals to make measurements available to power the user-interface of games, computers and investigational medical applications.
- Use your brains! – Our brains are made up of lots and lots of brain cells called neurons which use electricity to communicate with each other. These ‘inter-neuron interactions’ produce a large amount of electrical activity in the brain, which can be detected using sensitive medical equipment (such as an EEG). Don’t think for a minute that I’ve suddenly become an expert on the human brain. Instead, all credit goes to “Dr. Hugo” who goes on to write about the different brainwave types such as “beta” (an alert state) or “alpha” (a relaxed state). You can use these different brainwave types to control a device, makiing it do the things you want it to based on your ‘state’.
- How Neurosky uses BCI – As I mentioned, the core of Neurosky’s research and technology concentrates on detecting electrical brainwaves and converting these into digital signals to make measurements available to power the user-interface of games, computers and other applications. In simple words, this means that if you’re using one of Neurosky’s products in a relaxed state, this will have an impact on how you use your mobile device (see Fig. 1). Similarly, if you really concentrate on getting your miniature helicopter up into the air, you will (eventually) get it to fly (see Fig 2.).
Main learning point: the research and technology which Neurosky and its partners use is fascinating stuff. Combined with the developments we’ve seen in wearable technology (think Google Glass and Vuzix M100) I reckon this will be an area that we’ll see a lot more of development over the coming years! Can’t wait to drive a remote controlled car using my brains!