What if Your Car Could Read Your Mind?
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The idea of operating mechanical function with the brain without lifting a finger has existed in the science fiction world for ages. Recently, Mercedes-Benz touted this car technology during the 2021 IAA Mobility vehicle showcase in Munich. Their AVTR concept car featured some seemingly far-fetched technological features.
According to Inputmag, one of them was the brain-computer interface (BCI) technology. It can convert neural activity to real-time commands like temperature control. So, what exactly is the technology? Keep reading to find out.
Brain-computer interface tech has allowed users to control a car with their mind.
What is brain-computer interface technology?
Although the AVTR concept car first debuted last year at the Consumer Electronics Expo, this was the first time they showcased the BCI. The technology comes as a partnership between the German automaker and Disney. According to Inputmag, the technology resembles the neuronal connection between the Na’vi character in the movie Avatar.
At the show, attendees wore headbands containing electrodes capable of recording brain activity in real-time. After establishing a connection between their mind and the car, they controlled some features with nothing but their thoughts. The technology connects your brain and the car, allowing you to control myriad functions by just thinking.
The BCI breaks down brain activity through electrical pulses that normally get released every time you think or move. By converting the brain activity into a series of signals, the car receives them and translates. This technology is not alien since electroencephalograms already use it.
Electroencephalograms record someone’s brain activity and find their nerve problems. Now, BCI takes it a notch higher and converts them into commands.
Mercedes-Benz says BCI is the future of car technology
NextMind, also a partner in the project, claims this is just the beginning. They want to take human-machine interaction even further, according to NextMind’s CEO Sid Kouider. In fact, this technology opens up new possibilities for user to computer engagement and interactions.
It could improve the translation of brain signals through the user’s visual cortex into computer commands. The Vision AVTR offers the right platform to test and further develop the technology. The car impressively depicts a futuristic way of driving around.
Of course, this BCI sounds similar to the Neuralink startup by Elon Musk. Not too long ago, the Tesla CEO showcased a monkey able to play video games with nothing but thoughts. For that reason, we can help but notice that all big industrial players are up and keenly following Musk’s moves.
Will brain-computer interfaces impact all aspects of your life?
Although we don’t expect to see the technology on vehicles soon, it indicates what the future holds. The brain-computer interfaces will impact every aspect of your life and possibly improve the world. However, it is still in its early stages, and its application will take time to unfold.
NextMind’s CEO says that their partnership with automakers like Mercedes-Benz will help to explore ways to make this possibility into a future reality. Like every new technology, this too has raised concerns over brain thought storage and hacking.
The tech opens a whole Pandora’s box of possibilities, not just for improving how we drive but also for ethical and security issues. We can even begin to list all possible disasters if the technology gets into the wrong hands. Hopefully, these concerns get addressed soon.
Mercedes made the first steps in making this technology available to the public. Although impressive, it is still unclear how soon we can expect something like this from a car manufacturer.
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