Mind-controlled Wheelchair No Longer Science Fiction

Vincent Nguyen - Aug 11, 2006, 2:53am CDT

A team of researchers led by professor Charles Xavier Kazuo Tanaka from University of Electro-Communications has developed a prototype of an electric wheelchair that users can use their brain to control simply by thinking of which direction to head towards. Before taking the mind-controlled wheelchair for a stroll, you’d need strap on a skullcap outfitted with a network of sensors. The sensors interpret the users brain waves, allowing the user to control the wheelchair’s direction by thinking, “move left” or “move right.” It’s amazing that the wheelchair is 80% accurate in interpreting the users intentions and moving in the desired direction.

Don’t toss out your remote controls yet, because this mind-controlling business, still has a ways to go yet.

The idea of using a brain interface in entertainment reminds me of this video excerpt from the “Music for Solo Performer,” a sound piece composed by Alvin Lucier in 1964. In this performance, EEG electrodes attached to the performer’s scalp pick up brain waves, which are used to control a variety of percussion instruments. The resulting music has a nice, mind-altering effect.

Read (in Japanese) [Via Pink Tentacle]

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