Brain Wave Wheelchair ControlPosted July 7th, 2009 by Spencer Chin
One of the world’s leading manufacturers of cars and light trucks, Toyota, is making inroads into the area of brain machine interface (BMI) technology. Toyota has developed a brain wave control that analyzes the brain waves of a wheelchair driver in as little as 125 milliseconds, as opposed to several seconds with existing technologies. Brainwave results are displayed on a panel so quickly that drivers do not sense any delay.
The system has the capacity to adjust itself to each individual driver’s characteristics, and thus is able to improve the efficiency with which it senses the driver’s commands. The system has achieved a 95 percent accuracy rate.
Toyota plans to utilize the technology in applications centered on medicine and nursing care management. The system is expected to help the elderly and physically handicapped maneuver wheelchairs and be particularly useful in rehabilitative medicine.
So far, Toyota has not stated whether the technology will eventually be adapted to drivers of motor vehicles. I can envision brain wave technology helping drivers with physical handicaps control vehicles. However, I doubt whether the technology would – or should be – available to the everyday driver.
Allowing the brain waves of a person prone to “road rage” or careless driving habits control the actions of a vehicle weighing several tons is not a pleasant thought.