Soon, pilots to fly brain-controlled flights

It is indeed true that your brain can actually work wonders. Scientists have achieved the daunting task of flying an aircraft with the help of just brain commands.

Last Updated: May 28, 2014, 16:17 PM IST

Zee Media Bureau

New Delhi: It is indeed true that your brain can actually work wonders. Scientists have achieved the daunting task of flying an aircraft with the help of just brain commands.

Researchers at the Institute for Flight System Dynamics of the TUM (Technische Universitat Munchen) have developed caps fitted with electroencephalography (EEG) electrodes, with the help of which future pilots can control an aircraft by brain impulses.
The project is named as “Brainflight” and is EU-funded. The pilot is supposed to wear a white cap with myriad attached cables. His gaze is concentrated on the runway ahead of him.

All of a sudden, the control stick starts to move, as if by magic. The aeroplane banks and then approaches straight on towards the runway.

The position of the plane is corrected time and again until the landing gear gently touches down.

During the entire manoeuvre, the pilot touches neither pedals nor controls.

During the experiment, seven subjects took part in the flight simulator tests.

They had varying levels of flight experience, including one person without any practical cockpit experience whatsoever.

The accuracy with which the test subjects stayed on course by merely thinking commands would have sufficed, in part, to fulfil the requirements of a flying license test.
“One of the subjects was able to follow eight out of 10 target headings with a deviation of only 10 degrees,” Fricke noted.

Several of the subjects also managed the landing approach under poor visibility. One test pilot even landed within only few metres of the centreline.

In order for humans and machines to communicate, brain waves of the pilots are measured using electroencephalography (EEG) electrodes connected to a cap.

Only the very clearly defined electrical brain impulses required for control are recognised by the brain-computer interface.

(With Agency inputs)