Video: Mind-controlled quadcopter demonstrates new possibilities for people who are paralyzed

Feb 11, 2014 by Miles O'brien
Video: Mind-controlled quadcopter demonstrates new possibilities for people who are paralyzed
Imagine living a life in which you are completely aware of the world around you but you're prevented from engaging in it because you are completely paralyzed. Even speaking is impossible. For an estimated 50,000 Americans, this is a harsh reality. It's called locked-in syndrome, a condition in which people with normal cognitive brain activity suffer severe paralysis. Credit: NSF

With support from the National Science Foundation (NSF), biomedical engineer Bin He and his team at the University of Minnesota have created a brain-computer interface with the goal of helping people with disabilities, such as paralysis, regain the ability to do everyday tasks.

Currently, the researchers are testing out their system using a flying object known as a quadcopter, and controlling it with someone's thoughts! For the experiments, the team uses both an actual flying quadcopter and a virtual one. In both experiments, the interface is non-invasive, so there are no implants. Participants wear an electro-encephalography, or EEG, cap with 64 electrodes. When the participant thinks about a specific movement, neurons in his or her brain's produce tiny electric signals, which are sent to a computer. The computer processes the signals and sends directions through a Wi-Fi system to direct the quadcopter.

This video is not supported by your browser at this time.

He and his team chose the quadcopter for this testing phase to keep engaged, but the interface is designed to help in the real world with , such as turning on the lights or surfing the internet.

Explore further: Gaming technology makes its way into headsets for the visually impaired

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Quadcopter piloted by a smartphone

Aug 19, 2013

The quadcopter, which was developed at TU Vienna, can negotiate its way through a room completely on its own. It does not need any human interference, and in contrast to other models, it is not assisted by ...

Recommended for you

Bluetooth may be the key to your future smart home

10 hours ago

If you've ever considered trying to turn your house into a smart home, you've likely found the prospect expensive or technologically intimidating. That situation could soon change, thanks in part to an old ...

Self-driving cars could be the answer to congested roads

Nov 24, 2014

If cars with drivers still suffer under gridlock conditions on roads, how will driverless cars fare any better? With greater computerisation and network awareness, driverless cars may be the answer to growing ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.