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Dec 02, 2016 09:14 AM EST

UC Berkeley Students Create Mind-Controlled Tesla

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A team of students at the University of California - Berkeley campus were able to modify a Tesla so that it can be driven using an individual's mind. The project came about through Cal Hacks, a competition on the school which was held from Nov. 11 to 13.

Inc. reported that the team put an electroencephalogram (EEG) headset on the driver. The headset was used to measure the brain's electrical activity, causing the Tesla Model S to either drive or stop.

In order for the vehicle to move, the driver needed to just think of tapping his right foot to signal the car to drive. Thinking about clenching his left hand would make the Tesla car stop.

A linear actuator, which is a mechanical rod that applies force, was used on the gas pedal and brake. The students named their invention "the Teslapathic."

Jacob Jolij, assistant professor of neuroscience at England's University of Exeter, noted that the system used by the students is an example of brain-computer interfaces. He explained that moving a right limb would require activity from the left side of the brain, and vice versa.

These signals can be easily detected by an EEG headset. A computer would then convert the activity into commands.

"The challenge, however, is to make them fast and reliable," Jolij said. "It's good to realize it's still in the 'gimmick' stage, and that we should not expect brain-driven cars anytime soon."

Recently, Elon Musk has confirmed that Tesla cars are already equipped with the hardware for self-driving. However, the new technology will not be rolled out yet since regulators have not come up with the road rules for this type of car.

The Tesla and SpaceX founder is confident that Tesla's self-driving cars are ready. He revealed that all the cars produced by the company, moving forward, will be equipped with the hardware that they need to transform into self-driving cars.

Musk added that they are now only waiting for the software and road rules to be ready. He also admitted that he wants to send a driverless car from Los Angeles to New York by the end of 2017.

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