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Russian Scientists Create a 'Quadcopter' Controlled by Human Thought

The startling development, based on a neuro-interface with the pilot, is of interest to the Russian ministry of defense and could also greatly aid the disabled


This post first appeared on Russia Insider


Originally appeared at Izvestia. Translated from Russian by Alexandra Doroschin


Right, left, up, down, go to point A, the mind can control a flying vehicle.

<figcaption>This fantastic flying vehicle is guided directly by signals from human brain</figcaption>
This fantastic flying vehicle is guided directly by signals from human brain

The Zelenograd company Neurobotics, working for the Advanced Research Foundation of the Russian Federation (ARF), which supports programs of interest to the defense industry, created a neuro-interface that can control a quadcopter through brain impulses, literally, by the power of thought. "For the technology to be of use on the battlefield, we had to do more than just control the copter," said the Executive Director of Neurobotics, Vladimir Konyshev.

"Our demonstrator moved while operating the copter, and it could recognize direct as well as programmed commands, for example a flight to a specific point. We proved that under the right conditions the copter can be controlled by the mind.”

Work on the neuro-interface, for which there are a host of applications, was launched last summer with initial funding from the ARF.

According to ARF Chairman Vitaly Davydov,

"It could manage a "smart home" for people with disabilities working from home as well as being used for weapons systems.”

The creation of the brain-computer interface started in the 1970s. The first systems that could enter letters using bio-signals appeared in 1988. During the last 20 years it took-off with the emergence of compact devices for moving bio-signals beyond the laboratory.

"A soldier running with his gun is being fired on by a sniper," Konyshev says. “After several months of training, he would be able to drop to the ground while mentally ordering the copter to transmit an image of where the fire is coming from to his tactical goggles.”

The generation of commands, or "states", as we call them (the sensors on the demonstrator's head record them) is tied to the use of special psychic techniques. A person in a given situation proposes actions that the system can recognize. For example, he can imagine clenching a fist three times.

More brain-computer interface developments are planned in the NeuroNet road map developed under the President's "National Technology Initiative". Its authors believe that by the 2030's, a neuro-technological revolution will result in new interfaces and technologies.

By 2035, the global neuro-technologies market will reach $1 trillion, through massive use of artificial organs, such as ears, eyes or limbs (differentiated from today's dental prosthesis and hearing aids by being directly controlled by the central nervous system), the development of neuromorphic computers and interfaces for the neuro-control of the domestic environment.

The Advanced Research Foundation (ARF) was established in 2012 by a  Presidential decree that tasks the government with "ensuring the dynamic development of breakthrough high-risk research and development, fundamental science and implementation of applied research programs in the interest of ensuring the country's defense and security".On October 16, the NeuroNet road map was approved by the Presidium of the Council for Economic Modernization and Innovative Development.


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