When quadriplegic Jan Scheuermann was first recruited by the Revolutionizing Prosthetics Program, she probably hoped to become a bit more independent using a robotic arm. She likely never dreamed she’d simulate flying an aircraft through mind control.
Hoping to help injured veterans through high tech prosthetics, the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) developed a neural interface that connects the brain to a computer for increased mobility, Wired reports.
After fitting Scheuermann with two electrodes in the motor cortex portion of her brain, she first used the interface to connect to a robotic arm, giving herself high fives and feeding herself candy bars.
Officials were impressed with her ability to control the prosthetic so accurately through her mind that they moved on to flight simulation. Video footage shows a successful, albeit shaky, flight of the newest fighter jet, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. And that’s likely because Scheuermann is a writer and not a pilot. Instead of thinking about manning the joystick, she envisioned flying the plane herself, Science Alert reports.
Although this success was presented at the Future of War conference last month, it’s supposedly not intended to be the next advancement into mind controlled fighter drones. Whether or not that’s entirely true, Scheuermann’s achievement indicts the wide potential of mind control that will hopefully be used to enrich lives, not take them away.
Top photo credit: UPMC