Mind-Controlled Flamethrower

Mind control might seem like something out of a sci-fi show, but like the tablet computer, universal translator, or virtual reality device, is actually a technology that has made it into the real world. While these devices often requires on advanced and expensive equipment to interpret brain waves properly, with the right machine learning system it’s possible to do things like this mind-controlled flame thrower on a much smaller budget. (Video, embedded below.)

[Nathaniel F] was already experimenting with using brain-computer interfaces and machine learning, and wanted to see if he could build something practical combining these two technologies. Instead of turning to an EEG machine to read brain patterns, he picked up a much less expensive Mindflex and paired it with a machine learning system running TensorFlow to make up for some of its shortcomings. The processing is done by a Raspberry Pi 4, which sends commands to an Arduino to fire the flamethrower when it detects the proper thought patterns. Don’t forget the flamethrower part of this build either: it was designed and built entirely by [Nathanial F] as well using gas and an arc lighter.

While the build took many hours of training to gather the proper amount of data to build the neural network and works as the proof of concept he was hoping for, [Nathaniel F] notes that it could be improved by replacing the outdated Mindflex with a better EEG. For now though, we appreciate seeing sci-fi in the real world in projects like this, or in other mind-controlled projects like this one which converts a prosthetic arm into a mind-controlled music synthesizer.

16 thoughts on “Mind-Controlled Flamethrower

    1. Only 69% positive feedback is not that positive, at least in terms of accuracy! Seriously though, this probably once again has a series of errors or things not quite working as intended, yet is described here as working 100%. Even if you have 23 glued on EEG electrodes involved, I highly doubt that.

    1. Could you be more specific about “this” idea? The abuse of neural networks? The DIY propane flamer? The not-quite-brain-interface of the Mindflex?

      Each one, considered individually, is a bad idea. Put together, they’re glorious.

  1. I’m pretty sure I saw this at Maker Faire Detroit some number of years ago.

    I don’t think it was arm mounted like this, the flame thrower was stationary, aimed into a cordoned off area for safety but it was connected to some sort of mind-control headset. It might have even been a Mindflex too. I don’t remember.

    1. You did! It was a regular poofer flame effect subject to their huge perimeter because public and kids. And it used one of the Neurosky headsets (the headphone style). I eventually moved to a Muse headset but haven’t set it up in quite some time.

      Photo (not mine): https://www.flickr.com/photos/a_square/4854971347/

      (yeah I know this is an old thread, just found it while looking for something else, always funny when I see old things of mine being talked about like this :D )

        1. I really want to find an upside here, but all I can think of is that you’d be less likely to set your own leg on fire with a can of Suave and a stove lighter.

          Although… points for all the individual bits and their Rube Goldberg worthy combination.

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