Concentration counts in mind controlled drone race

Tue Apr 26, 2016 6:14pm EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fl - It was a test of concentration and brainwaves for students at the University of Florida during what was billed as the first mind controlled drone race.

Sixteen competitors wearing special headsets measuring the electrical activity of their brains used their powers of concentration to send their drones down a 10-yard (meter) course to the finish line.

The students used brain-computer interface (BCI)  which enables a person to use brainwaves to control a computer or other device. BCI programs are used to assist paralyzed patients is using prosthetic limbs, according to

"You start thinking and you hear that motor kick up and you know it kind of kicks you into a different mental state so you have to focus," said contestant Daniel Royer, a mechanical engineering student at the university.

Professor Juan Gilbert, chairman of the Computer and Information Science and Engineering Department at the University of Florida, said they had been doing research on BCI and decided to connect it to drones for the race.

"The implications are far beyond the race," he said. "It's fascinating. It's the first of its kind. It's the future."