So you remember how people thought it was cool that you could buy a toy helicopter that could be controlled by your iPhone? That’s got nothing on the Puzzlebox Orbit.
Puzzlebox has actually been producing brain-controlled helicopters for classrooms over the past two years. Now, however, they want to take it to a commercial level.
Basically, they’re creating helicopters that make you feel like Jean Grey. You wear a NeuroSky MindWave Mobile EEG headset, which can detect your brainwaves, determining your levels of attention and meditation. The device then communicates either with your smartphone/tablet or to their Puzzlebox Pyramid. The software then translates your brainwaves into commands for the helicopter according to how you’ve programmed the device. Lose concentration, your helicopter begins a decline. Start getting excited and the helicopter hovers. Begin laughing and the helicopter does a loop-de-loop (ok I’m making that up but I assume some third-party developer will program that in at some point!)
The helicopter itself is contained in a spherical design, protecting it from accidental collisions with walls, ceilings, and little sisters. Puzzlebox claim to have tested its defenses and reports successful recovery from bumps and bruises without noticeable damage to the device. Seems like it’s safe to hand over to the 10 year old to send buzzing around the house with only their excitement.
But the Orbit isn’t just a toy. It’s an educational device too. Puzzlebox is planning to release guides and software teaching you how to take the device apart and build it for yourself. They’re taking us back to a time when toys weren’t just plastic devices designed to attract children and empty their parents wallets. They’re creating toys that make learning fun.
Puzzlebox are fans of the open-source approach, so they’ll be releasing all the material including the schematics of the hardware and all of the source code and documentation. They’re even going to produce videos and illustrated documents about the neuroscience principles behind the technology. They’re not just creating a new product: they’re making a whole new realm of technology accessible and digestible for the public.
It’s pretty awesome and with just 12 days left on the Kickstarter, you’re running out of time if you want to get in on the act. It has already surpassed its goal so it’s definitely going to happen. It seems the $149 and $169 levels are sold out but you can still get in on $189 and get the device – and they’ll be ready in time for the holidays too!