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‘It’s the future’: Brain-powered drones race for the first time in history

Students at the University of Florida fly drones with their minds for the first time in history
WATCH: Students at the University of Florida use their brainpower to race drones.

Imagine you could use your brain beyond telling yourself to walk forward or sideways or perhaps pick up that cup of coffee.

It was a test of concentration, but a group of students at the University of Florida used their brainpower to fly drones.

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For what is believed to be the first mind-controlled drone race, students wearing special headsets measuring the electrical activity of their brains were able to send drones down a 10-metre course to the finish line.

“You start thinking and you hear that motor kick up and you know it kind of kicks you into a different mental state so you have to focus,” said contestant Daniel Royer, a mechanical engineering student at the university.

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The students used a technology called brain-computer interface, which allows a person to use brainwaves to control a computer.

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Professor Juan Gilbert, chairman of the Computer and Information Science and Engineering Department at the University of Florida said he hopes the competition will inspire others to continue to build upon brain-controlled technology.

“The implications are far beyond the race. It’s fascinating. It’s the first of its kind. It’s the future.”

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Brain-computer interface could be used to assist paralysed patients and those using prosthetic limbs.