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Pilots race drones by using sheer brain power

Students at the University of Florida have conducted a drone race using EEG sensors to control their machines.

A bunch of projects have seen drones piloted using brain activity to control the drone. Now, for the first time, pilots thinking very hard have competed with each other to race their drones. Students at the University of Florida have used Emotiv Insight EEG headsets to read their brain activity, translate it and transmit it in real-time to drones as a control mechanism.

It's not as easy as it sounds. First the pilot needs to assign certain thoughts to certain commands. Thinking about the word "left", for example, will fire certain neurons. These can be programmed to move the drone. However, everyone's brain activity is unique, so each pilot will need a separate control program designed just for their brain.

There were 16 pilots who participated in the Brain Drone Race. The university hopes the competition will inspire others to help build on the technology.