Thoughtful driving: Ford patents brainwave reading device

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Proposed ‘brain-machine interface device’ would anticipate acceleration, braking and cornering intentions

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Consider going left.

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That’s all Ford can ask of you in order to get one of its future vehicles ready to run, at least if the brand is able to enforce a savage patent it recently filed with the U.S. Office. patents and trademarks (USPTO).

The file, unearthed by Engine1describes a “Brain Machine Interface” (BMI) which would measure a driver’s brain waves to predict when a control input is coming, such as a turn, acceleration or braking. Essentially, the technology spots the brain’s intention to activate a certain muscle for a certain action and ready the car before your arm or leg even has a chance to respond.

It’s not unlike the current suite of driver assistance and measurement programs available in Ford vehicles across the industry, just a bit more futuristic. Or much more.

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Here it is in official Ford sci-fi patent parlance: “BMI can monitor the motor cortex to identify when a muscle movement is imminent, such as the movement of the arms to grab the steering wheel. This combination would allow faster and more accurate calculation of intention.

The patent also mentions “portable devices for the driver” that could help “complete the determination” and Ford gets more sci-fi in the breakdown of this part, even touching on open-brain surgery before mentioning “non-invasive” options for installing BMI in the driver’s head.

There are no visible screws in the attached patent image, but it does show that the driver is wearing some sort of device on his head. Fashion thought: Ford could make it a little cap filled with electrodes and call it the Blue Oval.

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