Have you ever wanted to driver a car with something more than your hands or feet? Perhaps your mind? Well it’s official…a mind controlled car now exists. Chinese engineers have developed a headset that reads EEG (Electroencephalography) signals from the brain and successfully translates them into movement and steering of a car.
Designed with the heavily disabled in mind (no pun in intended), the car can essentially functions normally with the ability to go forwards, backwards, stop, and lock/unlock the doors. It has the potential to help a lot of people do what they otherwise couldn’t…drive a car.
With all the advancement in the field of self driving cars lately, such as Google and newer company’s like Drive.ai, you’d think that creating a mind controlled car might not be necessary. Soon enough people will not be driving at all. Governments have been putting in place systems, and supporting development of the field to encourage more driverless vehicles on the roads. But that doesn’t mean it’s the best option, and it’s going to take a long time for driverless cars to be implemented successfully world wide.
That’s where engineers from Nankai University in Tianjin have stepped in. They saw a need from disabled people for assistance with driving, so they decided to do something about it. Rather than wait for self-driving cars to fix the problem, these engineers created a more immediate solution.
By creating a 16 sensor EGG headset they were able to capture signals from a driver’s brain. Then, by creating a unique computer software, they were able to translate the brain signals into readable information that a computer controlled car can understand. Going forward, backwards, stopping, and both locking the doors, the headset wearer will truly have full control over the vehicle through the use of their mind.
“There are two starting points of this project. The first one is to provide a driving method without using hands or feet for the disabled who are unable to move freely; and secondly, to provide healthy people with a new and more intellectualized driving mode,” Zhang Zhao, Nankai Uni Researcher
While you may already be thinking that the mind can be hard to control, and getting distracted while mind controlling a car could be detrimental….but engineer’s have assured the public that is not the case. It’s true that there are lots of distractions while driving such as billboards and other drivers, but project lead Duan Feng stated that concentration is only needed to input an action, not maintain it. Such as changing lanes or turning. A constant focus, more than normal driving, is not needed.