The University of Florida (UF) last week hosted what it called the world's first drone race involving brain-computer interfaces (BCIs). The competition involved 16 pilots who used BCIs to drive drones through a 10-yard dash over an indoor basketball court.
"BCI was a technology that was geared specifically for medical purposes, and in order to expand this to the general public, we actually have to embrace these consumer brand devices and push them to the limit," says UF researcher Chris Crawford.
Each competitor was equipped with an electroencephalogram headset calibrated to identify the electrical activity associated with particular thoughts in each wearer's brain, such as where neurons fire when the wearer imagines pushing a chair across the floor. Programmers write code to translate these "imaginary motion" signals into commands that computers send to the drones.
The UF researchers are inviting other universities to assemble brain-drone racing teams for next year, with the goal of pushing interest in the technology.
As everyday life becomes more reliant on Internet-enabled devices, the researchers say they want to discover how mind-controlled devices could expand and change the way humans play, work, and live.
From Associated Press
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