Mar 11, 2016 | By Andre

The line between science fiction and reality is becoming blurrier and blurrier every day. Whether it’s low-cost 3D printing and drones on one end of the spectrum or breakthroughs in quantum computing and privatized space travel on the other, things that were fantasy less than a generation ago are increasingly common place these days.

A good example of the changing world we live in has been demonstrated by Dmitri Ulevsky and Daniel Reshetnikov, two Russian teens that have come up with a wheeled vehicle that can essentially be controlled by brainwaves via EEG electrode reading discs attached to your scalp.

They were able to achieve this with nothing more than hobbyist accessible gadgetry such as an Arduino micro controller, a battery, an accelerometer, some clever coding and a custom designed FDM based 3D printed enclosure for their brainwave detecting headset.

From my understanding, the EEG electrode pads are responsible for acceleration and deceleration functionality, while the built in accelerometer along with head tilting allows for directional movement of the remote controlled buggy. And while the department head at their school of Technopark admits their project is not on a nobel prize level quite yet, their proof of concept device demonstrates something extraordinary considering their age.

The Learn Intel Edison remote school seems to agree as they awarded the duo a best project award in a recent competition. The Edison, for those that don’t know, is Intel’s official entry into the custom electronics market and overlaps heavily into a space that has until now been dominated by the Raspberry Pi and Arduino hobbyist boards.

Even with the limits of their 3D printed brain wave controlled aparatus in mind, the core principles of the technology behind their device is potentially game changing. Being able to perform simple tasks and commands via EEC brain signals gives individuals with limited body and speech capabilities the ability to interact more fluidly with the outside world.

Just think, no pun intended, developments centred around these and related technologies will one day provide individuals the ability to control a wheelchair without pressing any buttons. The technology will also be advantages to those without disabilities in that, in theory, you would have the capacity to control two separate devices simultaneously; one with the mind, and one with the body.

So what’s next for these curious Makers? It seems their quest is only beginning as they hope to be able to continue advancing what they’ve already developed by introducing more and more real-world scenarios, making the robot more compact and to increase the number of individuals working on their project.

If it wasn’t for the emergence of low-cost 3D printing technology in conjunction with componential micro controllers and related hacker friendly electronics, innovations on this scale would not be possible. And if you’re not convinced of what these teens have accomplished, it’s worth checking out their demonstration video below.

 

 

Posted in 3D Printing Application

 

 

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