TECH
28/05/2014 11:58 BST | Updated 28/05/2014 12:59 BST

EU 'Brainflight' Project Wants Pilots To Fly Planes 'Hands Free', For Just 600,000 Euro

The EU has funded a project to build planes that can be flown via thought control.

The 'Brainflight' program -- which cost the EU almost 600,000 euro -- aims to make it possible for pilots to fly aircraft by merely thinking the commands.

Scientists of the Technische Universität München and TU Berlin have demonstrated what they claim is a "feasible" system that works with surprising accuracy.

The pilot in the test wore a simple white cap (well... relatively simple) with cables attached, and was able to control a full simulator by willing the plane to move forward, take off and land.

"A long-term vision of the project is to make flying accessible to more people," explains aerospace engineer Tim Fricke, who heads the project at TUM. "With brain control, flying, in itself, could become easier. This would reduce the work load of pilots and thereby increase safety. In addition, pilots would have more freedom of movement to manage other manual tasks in the cockpit."

Many questions remain to be solved, however - including refinements to the control system, building in a sense of feedback and resistance to steering, and making the brain-tracking cap more accurate.

It might sound strange, but when we're experimenting with commercial jets piloted entirely by computers, why not let the disconnected brains of your science fiction nightmares also have a go at the stick?