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article imageMind-controlled drones for the handicapped (video)

By Anne Sewell     Sep 2, 2012 in Technology
Chinese researchers at Zhejiang University have developed a system, called FlyingBuddy2 that allows users to control drones with their thoughts. Sound too much like SciFi? Read on.
The researchers developed the technology to help handicapped people, but it could also have many other applications.
The video above, produced by the researchers at Zheijiang University, shows how the system works. And it seems to be pretty simple.
The system is controlled by Electroencephalography (EEG) brain signals - the recording of electrical activity along the scalp.
You just need an EEG headset with a Bluetooth connection to a laptop. On top of that, you need a quadrotor Parrot AR drone, which is linked to the computer.
The presenter explains that “The computer can receive EEG signals via Bluetooth and convert them to specific commands to control the AR drones through WiFi.”
To get the drone to take off or land, "think left hard". "Think left lightly" to rotate clockwise. "Think right" to fly forward. "Think pull" to fly up, think "clench" to fly down. When wanting to take photos "blink." The system allows the user to move in 3D space.
Flyingbuddy2 - mind-controlled drone to aid the handicapped.
Flyingbuddy2 - mind-controlled drone to aid the handicapped.
Video screen capture
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The drone can be used for multiple purposes. If you wish to take a photo of something along the way, blinking will accomplish this. In the video, a man wants to look closer at some flowers. He simply guides the drone closer to the flowers and watches them by video feed.
Another usage in the video is to play games, and we see one man controlling a drone manually, and another using the thought-control technique - the latter is the winner in the game.
Researchers at the university are hoping their technology will help disabled people become more interactive with their surroundings and their invention is to be introduced at the ACM International Conference on Ubiquitous Computing (Ubicomp) next week in Pittsburgh, U.S.A.
One comment on the video reads, "PLEASE let Stephen Hawking play with this, he would love it!" And he would indeed.
More about mind controlled, Drones, flyingbuddy2, China, Zhejiang University
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