Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Control a virtual spacecraft by thought alone

Date:
February 5, 2013
Source:
University of Essex
Summary:
Scientists at the University of Essex have been working with NASA on a project where they controlled a virtual spacecraft by thought alone. Using BCI (brain-computer interface) technology, they found that combining the brain power of two people could be more accurate in steering a spacecraft than one person. BCIs convert signals generated from the brain into control commands for various applications, including virtual reality and hands-free control.

Scientists have been working with NASA on a project where they controlled a virtual spacecraft by thought alone. Using BCI (brain-computer interface) technology, they found that combining the brain power of two people could be more accurate in steering a spacecraft than one person.
Credit: Image courtesy of the project web site: http://www.robosas.org.uk

Scientists at the University of Essex have been working with NASA on a project where they controlled a virtual spacecraft by thought alone.

Related Articles


Using BCI (brain-computer interface) technology, they found that combining the brain power of two people could be more accurate in steering a spacecraft than one person. BCIs convert signals generated from the brain into control commands for various applications, including virtual reality and hands-free control.

Researchers at Essex have already been undertaking extensive projects into using BCI to help people with disabilities to enable spelling, mouse control or to control a wheelchair. The research involves the user carrying our certain mental tasks which the computer then translates into commands to move the wheelchair in different directions.

The University has built-up an international reputation for its BCI research and is expanding its work into the new area of collaborative BCI, where tasks are performed by combining the signals of multiple BCI users.

The £500,000 project with NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena, California, involved two people together steering a virtual spacecraft to a planet using a unique BCI mouse, developed by scientists at Essex.

Using electroencephalography (EEG), the two users wore a cap with electrodes which picked up different patterns in the brainwaves depending on what they were focusing their attention on a screen - in this case one of the eight directional dots of the cursor. Brain signals representing the users' chosen direction, as interpreted by the computer, were then merged in real time to produce control commands for steering the spacecraft.

As Professor Riccardo Poli, for the University's School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering, explained, the experiment was very intense and involved a lot of concentration. With two people taking part in the test, the results were more accurate as the system could cope if one of the users had a brief lapse in concentration.

Analysis of this collaborative approach showed that two minds could be better than one at producing accurate trajectories. Combining signals also helped reduce the random "noise" that hinders EEG signals, such as heartbeat, breathing, swallowing and muscle activity. "When you average signals from two people's brains, the noise cancels out a bit," added Professor Poli.

Professor Poli said an exciting development for BCI research in the future relates to joint decision making, where a physiological signal, like pressing a button, and brain activity can be combined to give a superior result. "It is like measuring someone's gut feeling," added Professor Poli.

More information about the project can be found on its web site -- RoBoSAS: Robotics, BCI and Secure Adaptive Systems at Essex University and NASA JPL: http://www.robosas.org.uk


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Essex. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Essex. "Control a virtual spacecraft by thought alone." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 February 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130205101735.htm>.
University of Essex. (2013, February 5). Control a virtual spacecraft by thought alone. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 25, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130205101735.htm
University of Essex. "Control a virtual spacecraft by thought alone." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130205101735.htm (accessed January 25, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Computers & Math News

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

No, A Google Exec Did Not Predict An Internet Apocalypse

No, A Google Exec Did Not Predict An Internet Apocalypse

Newsy (Jan. 24, 2015) — Earlier this week, a Google exec made headlines for saying "the Internet will disappear," but that doesn&apos;t quite mean what it sounds like. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Tim Cook Made 8 Times Less Than Another Apple Exec In 2014

Tim Cook Made 8 Times Less Than Another Apple Exec In 2014

Newsy (Jan. 23, 2015) — Tim Cook&apos;s total compensation more than doubled in 2014 to $9.2 million, but his pay was still less than four other Apple executives. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Smart Wristband to Shock Away Bad Habits

Smart Wristband to Shock Away Bad Habits

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Jan. 23, 2015) — A Boston start-up is developing a wristband they say will help users break bad habits by jolting them with an electric shock. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
NTSB: Missing Planes' Black Boxes Should Transmit Wirelessly

NTSB: Missing Planes' Black Boxes Should Transmit Wirelessly

Newsy (Jan. 23, 2015) — In light of high-profile plane disappearances in the past year, the NTSB has called for changes to make finding missing aircraft easier. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins