Science Snippet: Mind Control

What if it were possible to control a 3D object such as a drone or small plane using only our thoughts? Recent studies bring us one step closer. For example, what if a human subject were equipped with a device that detected electrical brain waves and then used them to maneuver a drone quadcopter in 3D space using only thoughts?

Bioengineer Karl LaFleur and colleagues at the University of Minnesota have achieved this by equipping operators with a scalp electroencephalogram that recorded brain waves while a forward-facing camera on the hull of the drone provided visual feedback.  

When suspended foam targets were presented to the drone, operators could accurately acquire these targets about 90 percent of the time. The goal of such studies is to restore crucial functions to people with a wide variety of neuromuscular disorders and to enhance the functioning of healthy individuals.

Source: K. LaFleur et al., 2013, Journal of Neural Engineering, Vol. 10, No. 4