Forget the Rovio, drive a taxi with your mind.

While browsing through flicker this morning, we spotted this interesting image. Two radio controlled cars hooked to Arduinos. What was going on? What is [knolleary] doing with them? We couldn’t find any information so we clicked through to his personal site. What we found was a quite interesting story about how he set up a race between two taxi cabs being controlled by the Emotiv headsets for the BBC. Yeah, forget driving a Rovio around with your mind. We’re still a bit curious about the two bumper cars in the picture. We can see that his tests were done on a blue radio controlled mini, so what are the bumper cars for? Did any of you catch this on the air? How well did the taxis drive? Was he using the facial expressions or the concentration?


  1. Nick O'Leary says:

    Hi Caleb,

    The programme ( was focused on whether brain training games have any real effect. But in the whole theme of the show, they had a piece running through it to see if they could ‘harness’ the brain to drive the taxis. So we focused on the ‘concentration’ side as you describe rather than the facial expressions. You can see some of my thoughts on the headset itself here:

    The blue Mini was for the original demo to the programme makers (and featured in the programme) before we worked with them to get the taxis hooked up to the system.

    These bumper cars were done for another colleague how wanted to do a similar demo.

    I will be blogging about the technology behind the whole thing soon – although much of it will be familiar to hackaday readers.


  2. Sheldon says:

    For any UK residents (or those who can pretend to be in the UK), it’s still on the iPlayer site –

    (I’m just about to have a watch myself)

  3. Sheldon says:

    ARGH, sorry, looks like between me queuing up the link earlier in the week (waaay to busy to watch everything when I find it) and trying it just now, it appears to have been pulled. My bad :-(

  4. Nick O'Leary says:

    You should be able to see the clips of the taxi piece here:×135035.htm

  5. Pete says:

    I hope TopGear use the idea I can imagine Jeremy Clarkson now.

  6. supershwa says:

    Good post to follow up on the “mind controlled Rovio” — these guys are doing exactly what I was looking for — they focus on brainwaves as input instead of facial movements using the EEG headset!

    Damn…I wish I could see some source code!

  7. Alexander Rossie says:

    @Pete, I can’t get you Jezza but James May drove himself around in a wheelchair using his mind. Associating words with directions, I think cat was left or something.

    It was part of his big toys? Or Maybe 20th century machines I think it was making robots and he linked it to using our brains to control robots…

  8. markii says:

    i can’t find the video of this thing in action :-(

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