Brainwave-controlled helicopter developed at U of M

brain-computer interface
This flying robot takes its orders from a person's thoughts. Dr. Bin He led a team of University of Minnesota's College of Science and Engineering researchers who made that breakthrough using a brain-computer interface.
Photo courtesy of University of Minnesota

University of Minnesota researchers say they've developed a brain-computer interface that allows someone to control a robot using only their mind.

The research is aimed at helping people with disabilities or neurological diseases to regain mobility and independence.

The system uses a special cap, laced with 64 sensors and wires, to detect brain waves and translate them into commands. A computer uses those commands to control a small drone helicopter in a demonstration project.

"The big difference is that we're moving this into the real world," said Karl LeFleur, one of the people working on the system at the College of Science and Engineering.

"People have done a lot of research with computers and spellers and we even have a system that's older that's a virtual helicopter that they fly around," LaFleur said. "But the big thing with our research is that they're moving through all three dimensions, they're moving forward. They've moving left, down, up right. And that really adds a whole degree of freedom to what they can explore."

Here's a video from the university:

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