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Orbit Toy Helicopter Controlled by Your Brain

Puzzlebox OrbitYou knew that the day was coming. You knew that one day it would be here. The day when you could control a toy with your brain.

Well, guess what? That day is here.

Puzzlebox, which is based in San Francisco, California, has developed the Orbit. What is the Orbit? The Orbit is a toy helicopter that is controlled by your brain.

Organizers of the project have been raising money on the crowd-funding website that is known as “Kickstarter.” $52,000 has already been raised from 307 backers. This far exceeds their original goal of $10,000. In fact, the toy helicopter could be ready for your Christmas tree this year.

Number limited to 375

However, Puzzlebox has put a limit on the number of toy helicopters that are available from the website Kickstarter at 375. So far, 185 Orbits have been claimed by people making donations that vary from $89 to $299.

The CEO of Puzzlebox is Steve Castellotti. He says that the toy helicopter is a “flying sphere you control with your brainwaves.” There are three components to the Orbit. The toy helicopter will be one, and then there will be the pyramid (a remote control system) and the electroencephalography (EEG) headset, which is capable of reading electrical activity along your scalp.

Castellotti said, “Power up the controller, slip on the headset, and start concentrating. As you focus your mind on something -- whether it be a math equation or the lyrics of a song -- your brain produces electric signals. The headset monitors those signals and converts them into flight commands.”

Signals from your brain

At the present time, the signals from your brain can only be used to lift the toy helicopter off of the ground. However, there are future plans to enable multidirectional control of the Orbit. Castellotti explains, “When you concentrate, up it goes; when you mentally relax, it comes back down.”

The Orbit will go into mass production at the end of November, 2012. The toy helicopter is going to be marketed in two models.

The first model will be designed to work with mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. They will connect through Bluetooth to the EEG headset and communicate with sensors that are on the toy helicopter.

The Puzzlebox Pyramid

The second model will come with a Puzzlebox Pyramid. This model will not be available until later this year. The Pyramid will act as a remote control unit and home base for the Orbit. The Pyramid will feature a reprogrammable, custom-designed micro-controller. Lining the rim of the Pyramid will be infrared LEDs that will send signals to the Orbit. These infrared LEDs will also have the capability of being reprogrammed to control other infrared gadgets.

Castellotti said, “So instead of controlling the helicopter, you could modify the programming of the Pyramid to turn the volume up or down on your television.”

The Kickstarter page said, “We envision the Puzzlebox Orbit being used for entertainment, personal training of mental focus or relaxation. And as an aid in teaching science and technology from middle school through to university level.”