TECH

Piloting Drones With Mind Control? This Researcher Has Done It

Is this the beginning of the end?

18/07/2016 12:37

A researcher from Arizona State University has found a way to control multiple drones using nothing but the power of thought.

That’s right, he is able to command his own fleet of robots using mind control.

The controller wears a skull cap which contains hundreds of electrodes that are wired to a computer. The wearer then thinks specific commands, the computer translates them into instructions and the robots obey.

Arizona State University

What’s really interesting is that the human brain can actually control swarms very easily.

The person has to be concentrating (a lot) and then imagines an activity in their head e.g. a swarm of drones breaking 

Once that’s done the computer translates that into a series of instruction for the drone and they subsequently follow the command.

The researchers tested the mind control programme with a number of drones both flying and land-based and found that they were able to control both.

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It’s not a seamless system just yet - for starters it has to be separately calibrated for each controller, who in turn has to go through the learning process every single day.

The hope for the future however is to use the technology to control large quantities of small cheap exploration drones using nothing but a single thought.

This would allow a user to give relevant instructions to large numbers of drones without having to separately control each one.

Robots in 2016: These are the robots and drones that will change our lives

  • 1 Robots that can deliver other robots:
    Amazon/AP
    Amazon Prime Air is a drone delivery service which the company is currently testing. The company aims to deliver products within just 30 minutes of the customer pressing the 'order' button. (AP Photo/Amazon)
  • 2 Robots that could soon be saving lives:
    MARK RALSTON via Getty Images
    The robot 'CHIMP' developed by Team Tartan Rescue from the US prepares to complete a task during the finals of the DARPA Robotics Challenge. It is hoped that these robots will eventually replace emergency services workers during events like the Fukushima nuclear disaster. (MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)
  • 3 Robots that can carry your stuff:
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    A robotic cheetah runs during a demonstration at the finals of the DARPA Robotics Challenge. DARPA's four-legged robots have been designed to carry supplies and ammunition for the US Army. Capable of travelling over tough terrain the hope is that these will eventually replace the need for trucks or small vehicles. (MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)
  • 4 Robots that can kill:
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    A sentry robot freezes a hypothetical intruder by pointing its machine gun during its test in Cheonan. South Korea unveiled a high-tech, machine gun-toting sentry robot that could support its troops in detecting and killing intruders along the heavily fortified border with North Korea. The weapons-grade robot can detect, raise the alarm and provide suppressive fire. (KIM DONG-JOO/AFP/Getty Images)
  • 5 Robots that can race each other:
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    Japan's motorcycle maker Yamaha Motor introduces the prototype model of a motorcycle riding robot 'Motobot' during a press preview at the Tokyo Motor Show in Tokyo on 28, 2015. (YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP/Getty Images)
  • 6 Robots that are toys:
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    The Sphero BB-8 remote controlled droid is on display at CES Unveiled, a media preview event for CES International, Monday, Jan. 4, 2016, in Las Vegas. The robot is controlled by an app for a mobile device. (AP Photo/John Locher)
  • 7 Robots that will do your weekly shop:
    A new delivery drone company plans to revolutionise the way we do our shopping by replacing your weekly trip to Sainsbury's with a tiny delivery robot which will bring your fruit and veg straight to your door. (Starship Technologies)
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