New Motorized Skateboard You Control with Your Mind

Imagine riding a skateboard with a small electric motor on it. You steer it like you would any other skateboard, but instead of having to lower a foot to push now and then, it just keeps going. Then imagine if instead of having to use your feet and legs to turn, you could just gesture a little bit, and the board would respond. That was the Board of Awesomeness, developed and described on this site just a few months ago by a team working for Chaotic Moon Labs. Now, imagine taking the whole idea a step further and hooking up monitors to your head so that your thoughts alone were enough to control the speed and direction of the board. That’s just what the team has done for an encore. The new board, they call it the Board of Imagination, can be seen here on YouTube.

The brain behind both boards is a simple iPad. With the Board of Awesomeness, signals from a Microsoft Kinect are interpreted by the iPad which then sends signals to the board to turn. With the Board of Imagination, the Kinect is replaced by a visor that sits on the riders head, which simply reads the riders thoughts which it then sends as signals to the iPad, which converts those thought signals into commands that are sent to the control mechanisms on the skate board.

GizMag explains it’s all based on sensor technology that currently exists. The visor has sensors attached that read brain waves, just like an EEG machine. It then is “taught” which unique brain wave pattern emerges when a person thinks about certain words, such as turn left, speed up or stop. Then upon seeing those patterns when the rider is standing atop the board, it interprets them and sends a signal to the iPad, which takes care of the rest.

In one sense, the whole system is very simple and basic. In another, it’s both incredibly complex and a masterstroke of inspiration. It’s simple because there is no new technology anywhere on the board. Everything is off the self and rather easily programmed. It’s complex because the stuff that was bought off the shelf has come about only after decades of hard work by really smart people. This isn’t to take anything away from the team at Chaotic Moon Labs, what they have done is brilliant and it’s what most any new brilliant researcher does. Take what’s available and put it all together in new and unique ways to create something that takes the technology forward. And the Board of Imagination surely does that.

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