Control wheelchairs with brain waves

The FollowYourTalent promoted a special type of project in 2014. Several students in the “Jugend forscht Schüler AG” run by our mentor, Sergej Buragin, took part, and wanted to develop a wheelchair that would only be steered via brainwaves.

All projects of “Jugend forscht Schüler AG” run across all schools The young researchers meet according to the interests present within the teams. “I’m mainly a supervisory person for the handling of various materials and equipment. The students make everything else independently to a great extent. At the presentation at the competitions, the supervising teachers must not be there at all,” explains Buragin, who founded the “Jugend forscht Schüler AG” and still manages it today.

Three students worked on their project “Gedanken, die bewegen” (Ideas that Move) for around 80 hours. And indeed: at a demonstration of their wheelchair, they astounded the jury with the self-made vehicle, which can be moved by thoughts alone. Jonas, one of the project participants, explains the effect: “Initially, the brainwaves were measured with a special headset, to determine the frequencies of a tensed and relaxed state. These frequencies are converted into a program and fed into the system.” The laptop is connected to an electromagnet, which, in turn, gives the signal to the wheelchair motor. Tense brainwaves mean go. On the other hand, the stop signal works by taking hold of the “handlebars” and thinking vigorous stop thoughts.

15-year-old Johannes demonstrates how it works. “With him, the values and the implementation are most evident”, explains teammate Frank. Now the young people are working meticulously on an enhancement of the technology, with which a movement to the right and left is also to be made possible. Important for the three researchers was the following: “We are technically interested, but registered for the subject of biology, because we want to do something for people, above all, something for those who depend on it”, said Frank, who has a wheelchair user in the family.