Mind control moves model helicopter in study - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Mind control moves model helicopter in study

Updated: June 5, 2013 03:02 PM EDT
© Thinkstock / Comstock / Thinkstock © Thinkstock / Comstock / Thinkstock

WEDNESDAY, June 5 (HealthDay News) -- Scientists say five people wearing special electrodes were able to control a model helicopter by their thoughts alone.

The team say the achievement is an important step forward in efforts to develop robotic devices that could help people who are paralyzed or have neurodegenerative disorders.

Each of the people in a new study was able to use their thoughts to control the four-blade helicopter quickly and accurately for a sustained amount of time as it flew through a series of hoops around a college gymnasium.

Participants controlled the helicopter while wearing a cap containing 64 electrodes that recorded the brain's electrical activity. They sat in front of a screen that displayed video from a camera on the helicopter, enabling them to see the helicopter's direction of travel. Their brain activity was relayed to the helicopter over Wi-Fi.

The three women and two men were told to imagine using their right hand, left hand and both hands together to instruct the helicopter to turn right, left, lift and then fall, respectively. They underwent several training sessions before being asked to fly the helicopter through two rings suspended from the gymnasium ceiling, according to the study published June 4 in the Journal of Neural Engineering.

"Our study shows that for the first time, humans are able to control the flight of flying robots using just their thoughts, sensed from noninvasive brain waves," study lead author Bin He, a professor with the University of Minnesota College of Science and Engineering, said in a journal news release.

"Our next goal is to control robotic arms using noninvasive brain wave signals, with the eventual goal of developing brain-computer interfaces that aid patients with disabilities or neurodegenerative disorders," He said.

More information

The Family Center on Technology and Disability has more about assistive technology.

Health News Copyright © 2013 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

*DISCLAIMER*: The information contained in or provided through this site section is intended for general consumer understanding and education only and is not intended to be and is not a substitute for professional advice. Use of this site section and any information contained on or provided through this site section is at your own risk and any information contained on or provided through this site section is provided on an "as is" basis without any representations or warranties.
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WQOW. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service and Mobile Privacy Policy & Terms of Service.

Persons with disabilities who need assistance with issues relating to the content of this station's pubic inspection file should contact Director of Station Operations Lisa Patrow at 715-852-5920. Questions or concerns relating to the accessibility of the FCC's online public file system should be directed to the FCC at 888-225-5322, at 888-835-5322 (TTY) or at fccinfo@fcc.gov.