Have you ever heard of electroencephalography? What about an emotive neuroheadset? While these words probably sound like a foreign language to most of us, one San Francisco company is an expert in electroencephalograhy (EEG) and is using their knowledge to radically change the car industry.
San Francisco-based Emotiv, in partnership with a team of German scientists and professors, have created a device which will allow a driver to operate a motor vehicle using only the power of their mind. With the help of this new technology, the driver need never place their hands on the steering wheel or their feet on the gas pedals; every motion of the motor vehicle can be controlled through brain activity.
Sound like something straight out of a science fiction movie? Well, the creators of the software-called BrainDriver-expected their announcement to raise a good deal of public skepticism and, therefore, prepared video footage of a successful road test near Berlin. The film depicts a male driver, using BrainDriver to control his car’s engine, brakes, and steering.
So how does BrainDriver work? The device builds off of the same scientific advancements currently being used to operate robots or play video games. A motorist using BrainDriver must wear a neuroheadseat, which uses EEG technology to pick up and process brainpower. The headset technology was originally developed at Emotiv for use by videogamers.
The EEG technology in the headset can recognize specific brainwave patterns and translate these patterns into driving actions, such as stop, turn left, speed up, etc. Once the actions are registered, they are transmitted to the car’s drive-by-wire system and used to physically control the vehicle.
Want to know more about BrainDriver, including its potential effects on road safety? Check back in with us next week as we continue discussing this fascinating, and somewhat controversial, technology.
Source: IEEE Spectrum, “BrainDriver: A Mind Controlled Car.” Markus Waibel, 17 February 2011