Few things describe the current society in which we’re living better than it being an era of innovation. Technological progress will most likely be the thing for which we’ll best be remembered, as that is pretty much the only area in which we’re excelling. And the things we’ve managed to come up with could have easily been considered science fiction a few years back.
Yes, for some born a few generations ago, we are living in the future. We’ve developed things that could have barely been conceived a while back. From fully controllable robotic arms to driverless cars, a more or less fully functioning AI and drones you can control with your mind, innovation is certainly the word to define us.
Mind-controlled drone racing
To prove just how far we’ve developed as a society, at least from a technological point of view, the University of Florida just hosted a mind-controlled drone racing competition. It took place ten days ago, on the 16th of April, and it enlisted sixteen participants that raced their mind-controlled drones inside a 10-yard basketball court.
While the drones did move very slowly, with the participants having to concentrate fiercely in order to get them to move, speed isn’t all that relevant in this situation. After all, it is a mind-controlled drone racing competition, so the pure awesomeness of the situation definitely excuses the slow speeds of the drones.
Brain Computer Interface
So how did the participants manage to connect the drones to their brains? Well, with the help of a Brain Computer Interface. A few years ago, the technology was merely an idea, a theory, but today you can even purchase one of these interfaces on the internet for a few hundred dollars. And their applicability is huge.
If you want to know how the BCI works, here’s a short explanation: the person doing the controlling wears an EEG headset which is used to determine the electrical activity linked to certain thoughts. Programmers then write code to turn those signals into commands for the drones. For example, say that thinking about the concept of forward moves the drone forward.
While initially the people behind these brain computer interfaces thought about doing great things with their invention, they were eventually convinced that in order for the masses to accept the technology they would need to make it far more widely applicable. And that’s simply for the best of everyone involved.
That’s not to say that the technology is just wasted on fun and entertaining activities. No, the BCIs have already been used to develop fully functioning artificial limbs, controllable robots, and many more useful technologies. Still, the applications are basically endless, so we should expect ot hear more about these interfaces very soon.
Image source: YouTube