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Hackers mind controlled a Tesla Model S in hackathon project


Earlier this year, we reported on a Tesla Model S owner technically controlling his car with his mind, but we noted that it was “gimmicky” at best since we were only talking about sending commands that you can use through Tesla’s app with its API tools.

Last weekend, a group of hackers pushed the idea further and managed to put together a prototype that truly controlled a Tesla Model S through commands translated from brain activity, aka mind control.

The project, called Teslapathic, was created during a 36-hour hackathon that took place over the weekend in Berkeley.

The four hackers, Abenezer Mamo, Casey Spencer (top right), Lorenzo Caoile (top left), and Vivek Vinodh, were inspired by “the rapid advancement of the automated auto industry” and wanted to showcase ” the future of human-computer interfaces, mind controlled devices”, according to their development page.

They took Spencer’s Model S (if his name sounds familiar it’s because he is the same guy who broke the Tesla hypermiling record a while back) and installed actuators on the pedals and a motor on the steering wheel controlled by an analog signal translated from brain activity detected on an EEG headset.

Spencer commented on the project in a Reddit post:

“My team wrote a machine learning training program for an EEG headset that learned when its user was thinking forward or stop and created corresponding variables. Those variables were translated to an analog PPM signal through an Arduino, then broadcast to actuators on the pedals through a standard RC radio. A head-mounted gyro controlled a modified windshield wiper motor mounted to the steering wheel.”

Here are pictures of the setup inside the Model S:

As Spencer’s puts it, “it doesn’t not work”. Their machine learning algorithms managed to translate brain activity to  “Stop” and “Go”, but the limited time and the safety requirements pushed them to limit the capacity of the prototype.

But they still delivered a demonstration to show that it technically works:

Maybe mind control will have a future in the automotive industry?

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