Scientists devise mind-controlled car braking system


Researchers are working on a mind-reading system for cars that will allow drivers to control the brakes as soon as the thought to stop occurs to them, reports New Scientist. The technology is intended to help the car stop faster, and potentially save lives, injury and damaged property.

The mind-reading braking system is being developed by Stefan Haufe and a team of researchers at the Berlin Institute of Technology in Germany. Though still in the testing stage, their technology could cut milliseconds off of the time it takes drivers to press on the brake pedal. That may not sound like a lot, but considering a car going 60 MPH travels 88 feet in a single second, it’s not hard to see how any moment saved is valuable.

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 around 60 MPH, this is enough to reduce stop time by about the length of a car — theoretically enough to stop many accidents.

While some of the teams peers in the scientific community commend the study for testing such capabilities at relatively high speeds, others say the study is flawed because the test subjects were alert and fully prepared to stop, which is not often the case in real life driving scenarios.

Watch a short video about the study:

(Image via)

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: camera with A.I. director, robot arm assistant

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Emerging Tech

New brainwave reader tells teachers if students are concentrating

Massachusetts-based startup BrainCo has developed brainwave-reading headbands which can reportedly help reveal if students are concentrating in class. Here's how they're being used.

Peloton’s tech lets truckers play follow the leader to boost fuel economy

Peloton Technology can help semi trucks save fuel by running close together on the highway. Using short-range wireless communications, the trucks get a kind of super cruise control.

2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 is ready to strike with over 700 hp

The 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 revives one of the greatest names in American muscle cars, and gives Ford some ammunition in the horsepower war with Chevy and Dodge. Debuting at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show, the GT500 boasts over 700 hp.

Ford has a plan to future-proof the hot-selling F-150 pickup truck

Worried about the threat of rising gas prices, Ford will add the F-150 to its growing portfolio of electrified vehicles. It is currently developing a hybrid F-150, and it will release an electric version of the next-generation truck.

Ford’s Mustang-inspired electric crossover will spawn a Lincoln luxury version

Lincoln will get its own version of parent Ford's first mass-market, long-range electric vehicle. While Ford's version will have styling inspired by the Mustang, Lincoln will take a more traditional approach.

Driving Daimler’s 40-ton eCascadia big rig isn’t just fun, it’s electrifying

Daimler Trucks brought its all-electric eCascadia semi-truck to the 2019 CES, and invited us to take the wheel. What does it feel like to drive one? Simply electrifying, of course.
Home Theater

Spotify adds simplified Car View mode for Android users

What was once just a test is now a reality: Spotify is rolling out a new, simplified in-car user interface for all Android users called Car View, which automatically engages when the app detects a car Bluetooth connection.

Boutique carmaker Karma Automotive, legendary design firm Pininfarina team up

Karma Automotive is partnering with legendary Italian design firm Pininfarina on future luxury cars. The first product of that partnership will appear later this year, Karma said, without offering other details.

Sibling rivalry: 2019 BMW Z4 takes on the 2020 Toyota Supra

BMW and Toyota forged an unlikely partnership when they set out to build a sports car platform together. Here, we examine the similarities and differences between the 2019 Z4 and the 2020 Supra.

Tesla cuts workforce by 7 percent, ends referral program to trim costs

Tesla has announced plans to trim its workforce by seven percent, and it will end the referral program that rewards customers who help it sell cars. These measures are ways to cut costs and boost profits.

Worried about commuting in winter weather? Nissan has the answer

The Nissan Altima midsize sedan is now available with all-wheel drive. To advertise that fact, Nissan's Canadian division slapped some tank-like tracks on an Altima to create a one-off show car.
Emerging Tech

Too buzzed to drive? Don’t worry — this autonomous car-bar will drive to you

It might just be the best or worst idea that we've ever heard: A self-driving robot bartender you can summon with an app, which promises to mix you the perfect drink wherever you happen to be.

Lyft and Aptiv’s self-driving car program has come a long way (but not far enough)

Many companies talk about self-driving cars, but Lyft and Aptiv are already using a fleet of them to transport paying customers in Las Vegas. Hop in for a close look at the tech of autonomous cars, and the challenges they face.