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Brain waves make a fast brake

Drivers could stop cars just by thinking about it

10:01am, July 29, 2011

In a fast-moving car, the brain can hit the brakes faster than the foot. By relying on brain waves that signal the intent to jam on the brakes, a new technology could shave critical milliseconds off the reaction time, researchers report online July 28 in the Journal of Neural Engineering

The work adds to a growing trend in car technology that assists drivers. Though it may eventually lead to improvements in emergency braking, the new brain signal technology isn’t ready for the road.

“As a basic science study, I was quite impressed with it,” says cognitive neuroscientist Raja Parasuraman of George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. “I just think a lot more needs to be done.”

In the study, computer scientist Stefan Haufe of the Berlin Institute of Technology in Germany and his colleagues measured brain wave changes while participants drove in a car simulator.

The participants drove around 60 miles per hour

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