Thought-Controlled Drones and Pizzacopters

The Domino’s delivery guy of the future may wear electrodes on his head.

I’m starting to feel a little left out, not having my own UAV to experiment with. Even while their legality is still under consideration by the FAA, mini-drones have been turning up everywhere on the technological landscape, with new applications every day.

One of the latest, from a team at the University of Minnesota, is more about empowering people with neuromuscular problems than about flying. But you can easily see this being of interest to UAV pilots. The researchers have demonstrated for the first time the ability to fly a robot in 3D physical space by brain waves alone, using an electroencephalogram (EEG) rig attached to an operator’s scalp. Here’s a video that explains their work:

The Minnesota researchers had already shown that a virtual helicopter could be controlled by thoughts alone, but now they’ve demonstrated it with a real flying vehicle.  Here’s their report in the Journal of Neural Engineering.

On a more mundane level, there’s also the “DomiCopter” ad from Domino’s Pizza, which joins (at least theoretically, since none are open for business yet) other flying food delivery services. No telling whether this will actually happen. It’s hard to picture dozens of these things buzzing around my neighborhood on a Friday night, occasionally colliding, raining black olives and crumbled sausage on the passersby. It makes for good YouTubing, though.


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