Controlling a car with your mind could save your life. A new system developed by Stefan Haufe and his team from Berlin Institute of Technology beats the reaction time by using your brainwaves to activate car brakes. This stops the car milliseconds sooner, potentially helping to avoid a crash.
The research team tested 18 volunteers who were asked to drive about 62 MPH (100 kilometers per hour) on a driving simulator, and tailgate the car in front. Using an EEG headset that monitors brainwaves, the team were able to pinpoint the specific brain activity that occurred when a test subject was forced to brake. Additional sensors on a volunteer’s leg monitored muscle tension, which would occur as soon as the person intended to brake.
With this information, the team was able to engage the car’s braking system as soon as the relevant brain waves and muscle tension were detected. This enable the simulated vehicle to stop 130 milliseconds sooner than if the person simply hit the pedal. At 100 km/h that reduces the stopping distance by the length of a small car – potentially enough to prevent an accident.