can You imagine driving a car with arms crossed, no hands, letting your mind take care of how to control it? Although the idea may seem little more than science fiction, a few chinese researchers already have succeeded in building a car, based on a SUV of Great Wall Motors, which can move thanks to the indications that you think your driver, without the need to touch the throttle or the brake. For the moment we are faced with a very simple application, and a little practice, of technology. This SUV you can only move in a straight line and is just a prototype, and are obviously not going to be marketed. Even so, why is it so important to the development of this technology?
The team of researchers responsible for its development at the Nankai University, in the north of Tianjin, believes that the technology to control a car with the mind will be linked inexorably to the autonomous car. At the moment, this car is capable of accelerating, braking, reversing, open and close the doors, without making any gesture with the hands or feet.
The technology of recognition of mental impulses will be linked necessarily to the autonomous car, and poses a scenario truly is beneficial to serve users with mobility problems, and to improve their quality of life by providing them with a high degree of independence that always gives the car.
The control of the vehicle is based on a system of 16 sensors in electroencephalography, which records the bioelectrical activity of the brain, to translate our thoughts into actions on the control of the vehicle. These signals are sent wirelessly from the headband that the user can ride on his head, until the car itself. The interesting thing would not be only in the fact that can handle a car without using hands, nor the feet, but also in the fact that this system is able to know our intentions, even before that we carry out.
Its creators believe that in the background a car, be autonomous, or not, is intended to serve the people, and that therefore needs to acknowledge the intentions of the user. For that reason it is important that the intentions of the people, under certain circumstances, be recognized. hence, their goal is to link this technology to the autonomous car, also for security reasons. Think of the difficulties that can involve a system of these characteristics to enjoy the precision, for example in the acceleration, braking, or turning, that yes we can reach with our hands or our feet.
But, by far, the greatest utility of this project passes by develop cars more useful to people with mobility problems, which would be in the use of cars adapted to their condition, a qualitative improvement in their quality of life, and in their independence. Let us remember that this technology is already being used in the first amazing bionic limb, such, and in patients who are able to move the fingers of bionic arms by the recognition of its impulses from the brain.
it is also Not the first time that researchers advocate for this technology in the automotive industry. Already in 2011 I spoke of the work of some German researchers who had managed to implement the recognition of the brain activity to significantly improve the emergency braking of a car. Let us remember that, until a driver operates the brake in a situation of risk, there is a delay that can make the difference between avoiding, or not, an accident. On that occasion, ensured that the reaction to the need for braking is detected (and act accordingly) up to 130 milliseconds before, thus reducing the stopping distance up to 4 meters.
The big problem that the researchers found already at that time was the possibility of false positives. That is to say, that the system recognize a momentum associated to the braking, that was not such. In any case, the combination of electroencephalography and electromyography would be able to isolate the impulse – that would not be exactly the momentum of braking, but more like that of an emergency situation – to reduce the likelihood of error.
In motor: I Think, then the brake: stop the car with the mind could cease to be a utopia