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magnetic resonance imagingCars have been around since around 1885, With Karl Benz, Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach, who all have car companies named after them, starting this automobile revolution which has changed our world (for better or worse is a matter of opinion really). Over the last 120 years or so, a lot has changed in regards to cars. They have gone through the Veteran, Brass, Vintage, Pre-War, Post-War and Modern era and are now entering the Hybrid Era. From completely mechanical beasts that only dreamt about 50km/hr to the VV16 Quad Turbo Bugatti Veyron which produces 1001 horsepower and can go over 400km/hr, it is clear that the once humble automobile has changed into a technological beast of gadgetry that ranges from windscreen wiper sensors to Distance Control Systems (DCS) which will brake for you in emergencies.

Nevertheless, the basic, core idea of a car is still the same. You get behind the wheel and you drive the vehicle. Apart from modern systems such as the DCS, in essence, you are in total control of your vehicle by the use of your physical extremities. We have all seen the autopilot cars in movies, and we only dream of them now and hope they become a reality in the future. But what seems more likely now are Mind Controlled Cars!

Honda are working on what they like to call a Brain Machine Interface. Essentially the idea is that a computer can read your mind and know what you are thinking and hence be able to carry out your ‘commands’.

Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute International (“ATR”) and Honda Research Institute Japan Co., Ltd. (“HRI”) have collaboratively developed a new “Brain Machine Interface” (“BMI”) for manipulating robots using brain activity signals. This new BMI technology has enabled the decoding of natural brain activity and the use of the extracted data for the near real-time operation of a robot without an invasive incision of the head and brain. This breakthrough facilitates greater possibilities for new types of interface between machines and the human brain.
Medical News Today

Now how handy will this be in your car? Imagine if you simply had to think about how annoying the song on the radio is and have your car change it for you! Or turn down the volume. Or imagine if you just thought about how hot or cold it is and the car would adjust the temperature for you? Or if you panicked and tried togo for the break but the car did it before you put your foot down to give you a better reaction time? Imagine if John Howard could talk to the car and find out if you were going to vote for him… okay so that last one is a little scary (but it is worth thinking about!)

This new system is offcourse some time away, but the possibilities are very interesting. The best thing about it is that it doesn’t require you to get surgery to have some chip installed in your brain. The system simply uses magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans and learns the way your brain reacts when it is thinking about different things and eventually can read your mind! You can read more about it at Medical News Today

I’ll be keen to try this out if it ever becomes commercially viable. I wonder if you could ask the car if the mechanic really fixed the engine hose or if it was even broken in the first place! That would be handy!




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