Self-Driving Or Mind Control? Which Do You Prefer?

We know you love a good biohack as much as we do, so we thought you would like [Tony’s] brainwave-controlled RC truck. Instead of building his own electroencephalogram (EEG), he thought he would use NeuroSky’s MindWave. EEGs are pretty complex, multi-frequency waves that require some fairly sophisticated circuitry and even more sophisticated signal processing to interpret. So, [Tony] thought it would be nice to off-load a bit of that heavy-lifting, and luckily for him, the MindWave headset is fairly hacker-friendly.

EEGs are a very active area of research, so some of the finer details of the signal are still being debated. However, It appears that attention can be quantified by measuring alpha waves which are EEG content between 8-10 Hz. And it seems as though eye blinks can be picked from the EEG as well. Conveniently, the MindWave exports these energy levels to an accompanying smartphone application which [Tony] then links to his Arduino over Bluetooth using the ever-so-popular HC-05 module.

To control the car, he utilized the existing remote control instead of making his own. Like most people, [Tony] thought about hooking up the Arduino pins to the buttons on the remote control, thereby bypassing the physical buttons, but he noticed the buttons were a bit smaller than he was comfortable soldering to and he didn’t want to risk damaging the circuit board. [Tony’s] RC truck has a pistol grip transmitter, which inspired a slightly different approach. He mounted the servo onto the controller’s wheel mechanism, allowing him to control the direction of the truck by rotating the wheel using the servo. He then fashioned another servo onto the transmitter such that the servo could depress the throttle when it rotates. We thought that was a pretty nifty workaround.

Cool project, [Tony]! We’ve seen some cool EEG Hackaday Prize entries before. Maybe this could be the next big one.

9 thoughts on “Self-Driving Or Mind Control? Which Do You Prefer?

    1. As someone who is partially blind (75% at least), I would prefer a system that enhances the sight I still have and includes AI assistance for driving. So I drive the car, but I get all the information and prompts in form of augmented reality view and audio/haptic communication. I’d also like augmented reality system for daily use, so I won’t hit any unexpected road signs on my walks…

    1. And have to sit next to a bunch or weird strangers!? No thank you! But yeah, self driving for me please. If I’m going to be using my mind I might as well just drive the car normally. Cool hack though.

    2. Unfortunately there is no direct bus line from my house (or garage) to my workplace or the house of my friend. And if it were, I still had to take care of a schedule. It is also not advisable, to leave some of your stuff in the bus, which is easy with the trunk of your own car or even the motorbike – top-case.

  1. Neither. Both of them are a classic case of a solution looking for a problem. I want a car that starts with a key, has power windows, a/c and a decent radio. Pretty much a late 90’s Volvo 9-series sedan or wagon. Volvo should tool-up and start making them again, because the current semiconductor supply-chain issues would not be a problem.

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