Someday your brain could brake for you

July 29, 2011 | Source: Technology Review

(Credit: Journal of Neural Engineering)

Electrical signals from the brain are seen 130 milliseconds before drivers actually hit the brakes, Technical University of Berlin researchers have found, as reported in the Journal of Neural Engineering.

Seated facing three monitors in a driving simulator called The Open Source Racing Car Simulator, each subject was told to drive about 18 meters behind a computer-driven virtual car traveling at about 60 miles per hour.

The simulation also included oncoming traffic and winding roads. When the car ahead suddenly flashed brake lights, the human drivers also braked. With the resulting EEG and EMG data, the researchers were able to identify signals that occurred consistently during emergency brake response situations.

Ref.:EEG potentials predict upcoming emergency brakings during simulated driving, Stefan Haufe et al 2011 J. Neural Eng. 8 056001 (free access)