A few days ago Puzzlebox Brainstorms, an open source software project from San Francisco that aims to introduce basic neuroscience and Brain-Computer Interfaces (BCI’s) to students, initiated a Kickstarter campaign to fund a brain-controlled helicopter kit, the Puzzlebox Orbit.
Puzzlebox has been featured on Neurogadget before, when they released a previous version of the Brainstorms software suite, more than a year and a half ago. Since then they have continued to refine their software, as well as designing the Orbit’s hardware.
This is not the first time we’ve written about a brain-controlled helicopter (we’ve even covered a virtual one) either, but this one is is the first that is actually being sold commercially, not as a university experiment and with no DIY assembly needed.
Puzzlebox is offering two models, both powered by NeuroSky headset technology and running on Brainstorm software. The first is designed for use with smartphones and tablets, while the second is a more elaborate self contained model with a base, the Puzzlebox Pyramid, that can be connected to a computer or function independently.
Puzzlebox’s goal is to produce a suite of software applications, along with lesson plans and other resources for educators, to teach students from middle school up through university about neuroscience and BCI’s.
The best part though? If their kickstarter campaign is successful, Puzzlebox will release all of the source code for their software, protocols, hardware schematics, and mobile apps for free. They are also planning on producing videos and documentation explaining the science and technology behind the helicopter, hopefully to inspire another generation of innovators.
UPDATE 03 December 2012: Puzzlebox has raised almost 7 times their $10,000 pledge goal on Kickstarter, currently they are on $67,644, and it’s not over yet!
By Andrew Mathau
Watch the brain-controlled helicopter in action, click on the video below: