|15 December 2016|

UK

Christmas toys of the future could be controlled by the mind, thanks to research by the University of Warwick.

Tech developed by a team led by Professor Christopher James, Director of Warwick Engineering in Biomedicine at the School of Engineering, enables electronic devices to be controlled through electrical impulses from brain waves, by connecting thoughts to computerised systems.

This means popular presents – including remote-controlled cars and helicopters, toy robots and Scalextric racing sets – could be controlled via a headset, using ‘the power of thought’.

Rather than a hand-held controller, users wear a headset to create a brain-computer interface. Sensors then measure the electrical impulses from the brain at various different frequencies – each frequency can be somewhat controlled, under special circumstances.

This activity is then processed by a computer, amplified and fed into the electrical circuit of the electronic toy.

Professor James said: “Whilst brain-computer interfaces already exist – there are already a few gaming headsets on the market – their functionality has been quite limited. New research is making the headsets now read cleaner and stronger signals than ever before – this means stronger links to the toy, game or action thus making it a very immersive experience.

“The exciting bit is what comes next. How long before we start unlocking the front door or answering the phone through brain-computer interfaces?”