Mind-Controlled Quadcopter Demonstrates Interface to Assist Disabled People

A University of Minnesota research team, led by biomedical engineer Bin He, created a brain-computer interface with the goal of helping people with disabilities, such as paralysis, regain the ability to do everyday tasks. With support from the National Science Foundation, the research team is testing out their system using a quadcopter, and controlling it with someone's thoughts. For the experiments, the team uses both an actual flying quadcopter and a virtual one. In both experiments, the interface is non-invasive, so there are no implants. Participants wear an electro-encephalography (EEG) cap with 64 electrodes. When the participant thinks about a specific movement, neurons in his or her brain's motor cortex produce tiny electric signals, which are sent to a computer. The computer processes the signals and sends directions through a Wi-Fi system to direct the quadcopter.