What’s more cutting edge than a drone? How about a thought controlled drone. That’s exactly what the Parrot AR Drone 2 connected to an Emotiv Epoc EEG headset can do. All operating over wifi, the two off the shelf pieces of hardware, with some fancy code, can talk to each other allowing a human operator to control the remotely operated vehicle.

Brainwaves or EEG are read from the Emotiv headset and software then controls the drone’s height and flight direction over a Wi-Fi link based on what you’re thinking.

Emotive is one of the leaders in the new space, with its software development kit letting developers build apps that read brainwave activity programmatically on a PC or mobile device.

This isn’t the stuff of science fiction anymore. At a recent presentation, the thought controlled drone’s creator chose a volunteer from the audience to prove it was real. After a short explanation he gave control of the drone to the volunteer. One unique thought for left, one unique thought for right, one for up, one for down. ‘don’t go left’ isn’t yet supported – one thought for one direction. Simple stuff, but it is a mind controlled drone built by a hobbyist.

The availability of mind control technology closely follows patent filing activity.

Brainwave-reading patents quadrupled last year compared to 2010. They’ve doubled since 2012.

SharpBrains, a market researcher who closely studies so-called ‘neurotech’ technology said in a statement on their recent report that the “expansion into non-medical use shows that we are at the dawn of the pervasive non-medical neuro-technology age.” Patent filings strongly support this.

Reuters reports that consumer market researcher Nielsen is the top patent filer, with new ways to detect brain activity and translate it into how someone really feels about a new product or television show.

Tech companies aren’t being left out either, with Microsoft Corp. holding patents that assess mental states to change the way it presents information. There’s also patents from Microsoft about using mental activity to show you advertising when you’re most receptive to it.

As the graph below, courtesy of Sharpbrains, shows – it’s a brave new world for mind controlled everything.


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