American’s may have won the race to the moon back in the 60’s, but a few have beat us in the race to use telekinesis to operate military weapons. The Russians have successfully created a special helicopter (quadcopter, actually) that does not need external controls – it is operated through the power of thought.
The pilot wears a unique helmet that reads human thoughts and translates them into machine-readable instructions at speeds fast enough to fly a quadcopter.
The project money comes from Russia’s Foundation for Advanced Research (FAR), an organization that supports research programs in the interest of national defense. A Zelnograd-based company, Neurobotics, worked on the copters design for many years before developing a successful prototype. The copter is currently able to fly not only in four directions, but it can also reach a specific target.
“Commands, or ‘conditions’ as we call them, are generated by the pilot who has sensors on their head built into a helmet,” Neurobotics director Vladimir Konyshev explained. “The person thinks about certain actions at the right moments, which the system then recognizes and identifies and are used to pilot the copter.”
One of the most notable features, and one of the most terrifying when considering military applications of this technology, is that it allows the pilot to multitask.
“It is important that the pilot who controls the copter can do something else at the same time,” he added. “Only then we can talk about the device for military applications.”
The scientists who are currently testing the device are able to control it while going about other activities simultaneously.
According to Vitaliy Davidov of the Fund of Perspective Research Development of the Russian Federation, the technology is important because it has many other applications apart from controlling drones or copters.
“The possibilities for usage of the neuro-interface are also very interesting and does not have to be exclusively used for the copter,” he said.
For now, researchers plan to implement this technology during on-the-field combat. For example, a copter can follow a soldier under fire to offer real-time footage of everything that transpires on the battlefield.
Research on an interface that connects with the human brain with a computer has been carried out since the 1970s. There’s no indication that the technology will enter consumer segments anytime soon, but if it ever does, there’s no doubt it will be a commercial hit.
This success comes on the heels of Russian arm makers coming up with an all-new antipersonnel smart mine with an electronic brain.