Racing drones has become fairly common place in engineering departments at universities, but students from the University of Florida took it to a new level by controlling the flying robots with their minds.
The students controlled the drones using technology called brain-computer interface, Juan Gilbert, endowed professor and chair of UF’s computer and information science and engineering program, explained in a video posted Friday.
When people are hooked up to BCI technology, it gives them the ability to control an external device with their mind — sort of like mastering the force or telekinesis. It’s actually the same technology that gave a paralyzed man the ability to walk again.
The students wore electroencephalogram (EEG) headbands that are able to measure electrical impulses from the brain. A computer program built by the University of Florida’s computer science and engineering department relayed these brain signals into commands for the drone, like “fly forward.”
“We’re starting a new trend in society, there will be future brain-drone competitions,” Gilbert said in the video. “We’re starting out with a simple little race right now, who knows where this will go.”