Chinese researchers have unveiled a system that allows users to control drones with their thoughts. The technology was designed to help handicapped people, but could have ample applications in other fields as well.
A video posted to YouTube by researchers at Zhejiang University shows how the system, called Flybuddy2, works. And it appears that you don’t have to be a nuclear scientist to build one. All you need is an EEG headset with a Bluetooth connection to a laptop – plus a quadrotor Parrot AR Drone linked to the computer.
“The computer can receive EEG signals via Bluetooth and convert them to specific commands to control the AR drones through WiFi,” a presenter explains.
To get the drone to raise or to land, a user would need to “think left” hard. “Think left lightly” if you want to rotate clockwise and “right” if you want it to lurch forward. Give it a lift in the air by thinking “push.” And imagine clenching it if you want to bring it back down to earth.
But moving around is not the only task it can do. Remember how they tell you to avoid blinking when taking photos? Well here it’s the opposite: blinking is the command that tells the drone to photograph its environs.
The video shows a man in a wheelchair using the technology to get a closer view of flowers, to take pictures and even to guide his drone through a battle with another quadrotor controlled through a handheld remote control. Needless to say, mind triumphs over matter and the hand-managed drone is hustled off the mat by its thought-controlled analog.
The students hope their technology will be able to help disabled people become more interactive with the world around them, and are slated to present their invention at the ACM International Conference on Ubiquitous Computing (Ubicomp), which will be held next week in Pittsburg.
While handicap assistance and gaming is one potential application for the system, only the imagination can limit the potential uses mind-controlled drones could have in the future, both for civilian and other purposes.
Detekt: A New Malware Detection Tool That Can Expose Illegitimate State Surveillance 2014 11 21 Recent years have seen a boom in the adoption of surveillance technology by governments around the world, including spyware that provides its purchasers the unchecked ability to target remote Internet users’ computers, to read their personal emails, listen in on private audio calls, record keystrokes and passwords, and remotely activate their computer’s camera or microphone. EFF, together with Amnesty International, ...
New UK spy chief says tech giants aid terrorism, privacy not ‘absolute right’ 2014 11 21
Robert Hannigan, the new head of GCHQ
The new head of Britain’s GCHQ, the UK equivalent of the NSA in the U.S., said he believes privacy is not an absolute right and that tech giants must open themselves up to intelligence agencies.
“GCHQ is happy to be part of a mature debate on privacy in the digital age,” Hannigan said. “But privacy ...
LOL: Atheist Feminist Pornographer Used as Moral Authority in T-shirt Row 2014 11 21
Dr. Matt Taylor was thrust into the headlines this last week, largely for his lead role in successfully landing a spacecraft on a comet 300 million miles from earth that travels at a speed of 85,000 mph. In short, Taylor and his colleagues pulled off one of the most amazing achievements in contemporary science and space exploration, and in a ...
Forty Years that Unmade France 2014 11 21 Eric Zemmour is a well-known French author and television personality. Of Algerian-Jewish origin, he may seem an unlikely spokesman for French tradition, but he has emerged in recent years as a prominent scourge of ideological orthodoxy. He is unquestionably the most prominent mainstream French commentator who speaks candidly about race.
This role comes with a price. In 2011 he was ...
Richard Spencer Under Fire 2014 11 21
The Flathead Beacon has a story on the mobbing of Richard Spencer consequent to the publicity over the Budapest conference. The city council is being asked to “an ordinance barring hate-group activities in the community.” As several of the comments note, the First Amendment seems to be of no concern to these activists. The article is interesting ...