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Are Mind-Powered Drones Next?

A brain-controlled flight test at the Technical University of Munich.
A brain-controlled flight test at the Technical University of Munich.
Christoph Behrens

MUNICH — As the pilot sits in the cockpit with his hands in his lap, the airplane's control stick moves all by itself. The plane lands perfectly. Automatic pilot? No, the pilot controls the flight simulator — using only the power of thought.

From electrodes on the test pilot's head, "We read brain signals that form a complex pattern," says Tim Fricke, who leads the experiments conducted with the Technical University of Munich's flight simulator.

Test subjects focus on their left or right hand, and their brain’s electrical activity changes depending on which side is their focus. The activity is picked up by the electroencephalography (EEG) electrodes and produces a characteristic pattern of brain waves. An algorithm then "translates" these thoughts into piloting instructions for the light plane, with the computer making the relevant calculations.

Despite the fledgling technology, the brain-computer-plane interface works surprisingly well, at least with a simulator. So far, seven test subjects have tried telekinetic flight, and even those with no training as pilots were able to stay on course using the power of thought.

The EU is supporting this "Brainflight" project to the tune of 600,000 euros. Leading the project is the Portuguese company Tekever, which also develops drones and military technology. Berlin's Technical University developed the algorithm. The engineers' next goal is to identify the best brain-computer-piloting approach. Concrete usage of the system in the air industry is not yet under consideration, although the system should at least be tested in unmanned drones, according to the project description.

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Is Disney's "Wish" Spreading A Subtle Anti-Christian Message To Kids?

Disney's new movie "Wish" is being touted as a new children's blockbuster to celebrate the company's 100th anniversary. But some Christians may see the portrayal of the villain as God-like and turning wishes into prayers as the ultimate denial of the true message of Christmas.

photo of a kid running out of a church

For the Christmas holiday season?

Joseph Holmes

Christians have always had a love-hate relationship with Disney since I can remember. Growing up in the Christian culture of the 1990s and early 2000s, all the Christian parents I knew loved watching Disney movies with their kids – but have always had an uncomfortable relationship with some of its messages. It was due to the constant Disney tropes of “follow your heart philosophy” and “junior knows best” disdain for authority figures like parents that angered so many. Even so, most Christians felt the benefits had outweighed the costs.

That all seems to have changed as of late, with Disney being hit more and more by claims from conservatives (including Christian conservatives) that Disney is pushing more and more radical progressive social agendas, This has coincided with a steep drop at the box office for Disney.

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