Look Ma, No Hands: Drones You Can Pilot With Your Mind

A Portuguese aeronautics company is testing out the technology right now.

learn more about Nina Zipkin

By Nina Zipkin

Drones you can fly only using your brain waves -- sounds like something you'd see in a sci-fi movie, right? Thanks to a Lisbon, Portugal-based aeronautics company called TEKEVER and its BrainFlight project, that future is closer than you might think. The prospect may seem a little terrifying but really, who among us hasn't wished (or tried when you had the house to yourself) that they could move stuff with their mind?

So how does it work? The drone operator wears an electrode-covered cap that monitors electrical activity in his or her brain. The company put out a statement explaining that "the electricity flowing through the pilot's brain acts as an input to the drone's control system, in order to perform, on the air, a mission with objectives previously defined by the research team."

Related: NoFlyZone Wants to Help Keep Drones From Flying Over Your Home

The pilots are reportedly trained to give the unmanned vehicles specific and simple commands by imagining moving a dot up and down on a screen, which would then translate to the drone making a right or left turn.

The company conducted a successful public test flight in Lisbon this week. The scientists behind the technology foresee it being used for more than just drones. They are thinking of using the technology to pilot larger planes and jets as well, though whether that would be allowed on the regulatory side of things is an undertaking unto itself.

But more than the cool factor of remotely flying planes, or operating a boat, car or train, TEKEVER wants to develop the technology further to potentially apply it to the making of prosthetics and generally help individuals with "with severe physical disabilities to interact with their surroundings in an easier way."

Related: At This Restaurant, Waiters Walk and Fly

Nina Zipkin

Entrepreneur Staff

Staff Writer. Covers leadership, media, technology and culture.

Nina Zipkin is a staff writer at Entrepreneur.com. She frequently covers leadership, media, tech, startups, culture and workplace trends.

Related Topics

Editor's Pick

This 61-Year-Old Grandma Who Made $35,000 in the Medical Field Now Earns 7 Figures in Retirement
A 'Quiet Promotion' Will Cost You a Lot — Use This Expert's 4-Step Strategy to Avoid It
3 Red Flags on Your LinkedIn Profile That Scare Clients Away
'Everyone Is Freaking Out.' What's Going On With Silicon Valley Bank? Federal Government Takes Control.

How to Detect a Liar in Seconds Using Nonverbal Communication

There are many ways to understand if someone is not honest with you. The following signs do not even require words and are all nonverbal queues.

Celebrity Entrepreneurs

'I Dreaded Falling in Love.' Rupert Murdoch Is Getting Hitched for the Fifth Time.

The 92-year-old media tycoon announces he will wed former San Francisco police chaplain Ann Lesley Smith.


Having Trouble Focusing? Here's How to Become Unstoppable in Your Performance

Here are a few tips on how to improve your focus, discipline and ability to complete projects.

Business Ideas

55 Small Business Ideas To Start Right Now

To start one of these home-based businesses, you don't need a lot of funding -- just energy, passion and the drive to succeed.

Starting a Business

Selling Your Business? Do These 6 Things Right Now.

If you want the maximum price you need to make these moves before you do anything else.


How Great Entrepreneurs Find Ways to Win During Economic Downturns

Recessions are an opportunity to recalibrate and make great strides in your business while others are unprepared to brave the challenges. Here's how great entrepreneurs can set themselves up for success despite economic uncertainty.