If you have watched James Cameroon’s Avatar, you might remember zahelu, the bond that is achieved when the Na’vi plug their braids into similar neural cords that hang from the heads of crested, horse like animals and giant birds. The bond gives the Na’vi, full control over the movements of the animals, just by a mere thought (what scientists call as Telekinesis). Now, the computer scientists at AutoNOMOS innovation labs of Freie Universität Berlin have developed a similar system that makes it possible to steer a car with your thoughts (see the video below).
Brain-computer interfaces are increasingly becoming a reality, enabling neuro-prosthetics, brain-powered wheelchairs, or virtual keyboards. However the problem with BCI is that they require an exhausting level of concentration and for extended hours, which can be a tiring thing. Now, another research team at Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland is working to solve this problem, by engineering BCIs, to allow users to rest their brains and even to multitask. The team has currently developed a statistical analysis program that actually helps the BCI read the subject’s intention. So the computer detects the command, when the subject wants to deliver it. The team has recently demonstrated this approach in Washington, DC, showing how users could read aloud while delivering commands to the BCI.
It will be a while before these cutting-edge technologies make the move from lab to production line. But what is important is that they all started when someone started chasing a simple thought. Ain’t it? Let us know what do you think.