Chinese researchers from Nankai University, a top ranked public research university in China located in Tianjin, produced a mind-controlling vehicle which is processed by using a brain signal-reading equipment that took nearly two years to develop. The brain signal-reading equipment allows the driver to control the vehicle to move forward, backwards, stop, and even lock or unlock the car, without the use of their hands and feet. The equipment includes sixteen sensors that take hold of electroencephalogram (EEG) signals from the user’s brain which is processed through a computer program that specifically pick and translate signals.
"The tester's EEG signals are picked up by this (brain signal-reading) equipment and transmitted wirelessly to the computer. The computer processes the signals to categorize and recognize people's intention, then translates them into control command to the car. The core of the whole flow is to process the EEG signals, which is done on the computer," said Zhang Zhao, a researcher from Nankai University.
The purpose of this technology is aimed to better serve human beings, especially those who are disabled and are unable to physically unable to operate the car, and that there is a high possibility in combining brain controlled equipment and driverless cars, such as the Google Self-Driving Car (SDC), highlighted by the Associate Professor Duan Feng, from the Computer and Control Engineering department, who led the project. The biggest concern for this project is potential road accidents due to distracted drivers while using the brain controlling device because concentration is needed when moving the vehicle.
"Driverless cars' further development can bring more benefits to us, since we can better realize functions relating to brain controlling with the help of the driverless cars' platform," said Duan. "In the end, cars, whether driverless or not, and machines are serving for people. Under such circumstances, people's intentions must be recognized. In our project, it makes the cars better serve human beings,” Zhang Zhao added.