A Quadriplegic Woman Flew An Airplane Simulator Using Just Her Mind
In an amazing project at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), a quadriplegic flew a fighter jet simulator by way of signals from her brain.
Jan Scheuermann, 55, lost the use of her body in 2003 due to a rare hereditary disease, according to the Washington Post.
In 2012, the mother of two had two tiny electrodes put into her brain so she could operate a robotic arm in a series of experiments conducted by DARPA and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
But after mastering both right- and left-handed versions of the arm, Scheuermann wished to test herself even further.
At the first annual Future of War conference last week, DARPA Director Arati Prabhakar announced the woman had asked to fly simulators of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and a single-engine Cessna.
Scheuermann didn't want to just use her arm to manipulate the simulator's controls, however.
She actually wanted to maneuver the plane as if she were telepathically connected to it, DefenseTech reports.
Instead of thinking about controlling a joystick, which is what our ace pilots do when they're driving this thing, Jan's thinking about controlling the airplane directly. She's flying that simulator directly from her neural signaling.
The flight was a success, potentially paving the way for the creation of technologies that will change the lives of other quadriplegics.
We can now see a future where we can free the brain from the limitations of the human body and I think we can all imagine amazing good things and amazing potential bad things that are on the other side of that door.
Scheuermann's previous accomplishments include using her robotic arm to give high-fives and thumbs-ups and to eat a chocolate bar.