Scientists have discovered a way to fly a remote-controlled airplane using only the human brain, CTV News reported.
The airplane is controlled using only thought detected through about 60 electrodes. A "brain computer interface" translates thoughts into directions.
In a demonstration, scientists flew the quadcopter and were able to navigate it in all directions, and even through hoops.
"Imagine making a fist with your right hand, it turns the robot to the right," said Karl LaFleur, a graduate student who was involved with the project.
"And if you imagine making a fist with both hands, it moves the robot up," said Alex Doud, another researcher.
The project was done at the University of Minnesota College of Science and Engineering under Professor Bin He.
"When the controller imagines a movement, without actually moving, specific neurons in the brain's motor cortex produce electric currents," a narrator in the demonstration video said. "These currents are detected by electrodes in an EEG,which sends signals to the computer. The computer translates the signal pattern into a command and beams it to the robot via Wi-Fi."
The researchers believe the new technology will aid in the treatment of people with all kinds of disabilities.
"This brain-computer interface technology is all about helping people with a disability or various neurodegenerative diseases, to help them regain mobility, independence and enhance performance," professor He said in the video. "We envision they could use this technology to help control wheelchairs, artificial limbs or other devices."
A study published in the Journal of Neural Engineering looked at five people in their 20's. The participants learned how to "modulate their sensorimotor rhythms" in order to control the plane with their minds.
The plane had a camera attached to it's nose and the participants would watch a feed on a screen.
During each of several training sessions the participants were scored based on their performance. The study found that in the last sessions, all participants had a score that was between 69.1 percent and 90.5 percent.