For the first time your brain’s signal can assist you in braking and in providing a quicker response time to avoid potential car accidents. Driving at 100km/h, the braking distance is reduced by 3.66 meters using this technique which is the full length of a compact car or can be said as the actual margin between causing and avoiding accidents.
The mind reading system demonstrated by German researchers uses electroencephalography (EEG) – a technique that attaches electrodes to the scalp. It is accompanied with modern traffic sensors and could detect a driver’s intention to break 130 milliseconds faster than a normal brake pedal response.
The researchers, from the Berlin Institute for Technology, also chose to use myoelectric (EMG) activity which is caused by muscle tension in the lower leg and can be used to detect leg motion before it actually moves to the brake. The study, published the 29th of July 2011, in IOP Publishing’s Journal of Neural Engineering, identified the parts of the brain that are most active when braking.
For this a driving simulator was used and the participants were told to chase a computer controlled vehicle which simulated all the possible scenarios as dense traffic, sharp curves, sudden and emergency braking in regular intervals and a speed of 100 kmph. During this experiment there were electrodes attached with their scalps to collect data about EEG and EMG, response times, deceleration and distance between the vehicles which helped them in detecting the most sensitive parts of mind and in tweaking the detection system.
Lead author of the study Stefan Haufe said, “Averaged over all potential detection thresholds, a system that uses all available sensors detects emergency situations 130 milliseconds earlier than a system that doesn’t use EEG and EMG. We can safely say that it is mainly EEG that leads to the early detection.”
One more recent development is hybrid system that uses external lasers and sensors to detect the upcoming potential accident and then based on the physical activities, it goes to emergency braking procedure in a much quick time using this technique.
If this technique works fine in real scenarios, we can surely see it’s future brighter than other assisting technologies which can cause annoying and dangerous false alarms.