Pilots Fly Planes Using Telepathy
In the near future, pilots may be able to fly planes by simply thinking commands. During a test at the Institute for Flight System Dynamics of the Technische Universität München, seven volunteers with varying amounts of flying experience (one of whom had never flown a plane before) controlled a simulated flight with their minds with enough accuracy to pass their pilot's license.
In order to use thought commands, pilots wear electroencephalography (EEG) electrodes attached to a cap. When they give a command in their minds, the electrodes measure their brain waves and an algorithm allows the program to convert the electric potentials into usable commands.
This technology may increase safety for pilots and passengers, the researchers claim, as it could allow the pilot to fly with greater ease and free his or her hands to perform other cockpit tasks. But further developments in the technology need to be made before it could be flight-ready. For example, thus far, there is no control that accounts for different amounts of force the pilot would need to use depending on the conditions and the weight of the load on the plane.
The researchers emphasize that this is not Professor X-style magical mind-reading, but scientific signal recognition. But the potential for technology that allows for effective telepathy seems to be essentially limitless, especially considering the accuracy with which the program interpreted the pilots' signals. "One of the subjects was able to follow eight out of ten target headings with a deviation of only 10 degrees," said aerospace engineer Tim Fricke. A few of the test subjects successfully landed the plane under poor visibility conditions, and one landed within just a few meters of the centerline.
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