How does controlling a swarm of drones with your thoughts sound? Researchers in the US figured out how to do just that using an electrode-studded skullcap that picks up brain waves.
They could move and steer up to four small robots at a time.
Before any drones took off, though, their movements and the controller’s unique brain waves were calibrated. The patterns that course through the electrode cap when the controller thinks of, for instance, the robots dispersing, are different from them picturing the little machines congregating.
These patterns were measured and recorded. Then came the fun part – using the patterns to make the drones fly.
A controller watched a monitor and pictured the drones moving in various formations. Brain waves, picked up by the electrode cap, were analysed by algorithms to decipher those thoughts and commands were sent to the drones via Bluetooth.
Concentration is key – the system won’t work if the controller is fatigued, stressed, hungry or distracted. So if you get a chance to try the system, make sure you eat lunch first.
Read science facts, not fiction...
There’s never been a more important time to explain the facts, cherish evidence-based knowledge and to showcase the latest scientific, technological and engineering breakthroughs. Cosmos is published by The Royal Institution of Australia, a charity dedicated to connecting people with the world of science. Financial contributions, however big or small, help us provide access to trusted science information at a time when the world needs it most. Please support us by making a donation or purchasing a subscription today.