Pilots could soon be monitored with remote ‘mind-reading’ helmets

Are you awake in there? Pilots could soon be monitored with  ‘mind-reading’ helmets to ensure they are in full control

Miniature EEG scanners now fit in helmet

Can ‘read’ electrical activity in the brain

Monitor pilots for signs of sleep – or panic


Last updated at 5:24 PM on 30th January 2012

Pilots’ brains will soon be remotely monitored to see if they are in control using brain scanners built into their helmets.

Military commanders will be able to see if a pilot is not responding to a warning light and take over the plane if they are about to crash.

The advanced sensors – in the pilot’s helmet – could also give an indication if they have gone unconscious and allow base control to step in.

Fighter pilot helmets could soon include miniaturised EEG brain scanners which would monitor a pilot’s state of mind while at the controls

The development has been possible thanks to a breakthrough in electroencephalographic (EEG) brain monitoring technology.

Until now the process involved test subjects wearing a heavy cap with lots of wires attached to it in order to be scanned.

Users also had to stay still as movement of parts of the face could interfere with the signal.

The new developments were lead by Scott Makeig, director of the University of California, San Diego’s Swartz Centre for Computational Neuroscience.

He said that his headset weighs around 3.5kilograms and the machinery is still quite heavy, but light enough to transport.

Now the sensors are controlled over a wireless Internet connection and are much more precise because they use better algorithms.

Livescience reported that the difference was ‘akin to listening to a single speaker’s voice in a crowded room’ as opposed to all the noises.

EEG does not read minds but instead monitors the electrical fields that are created by nerves in the brain.

It was first used to monitor brain waves in 1926 but has advanced so much it is now being used in computer games, such as a headset from San Francisco technology company Emotiv.

It is also used in the Star Wars toys Mindflex by Mattel and Uncle Milton’s Force Trainer, which let would-be Jedi practice their light sabre technique just like Luke Skywalker does in the films.

In tests, he and his team have attached it to a jogger on a treadmill and successfully scanned his brain using a wireless Internet connection.

They are still however using conductive gel on the helmet which is something that Emotiv has got around, although it uses fewer electrodes.

Makeig said that what had been developed so far is just the ‘tip of the iceberg’.


via Pilots could soon be monitored with remote ‘mind-reading’ helmets | Mail Online.


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