Infiniti Synaptiq – Drive With Your Mind

Infiniti, the luxury vehicle division of Japanese automaker Nissan, came up with a breathtaking concept for the car of the future – the Infiniti Synaptiq, a wearable flying racecar that you can control with your mind, Neurogadget reports.

The  Synaptiq concept was submitted to a design challenge at the 2014 LA Auto Show about “Sensing the future.” The competitors were also asked, “How will cars interact with us in 2029?”

The Synaptiq is less a car and more of a set of interlocking pieces. The car integrates augmented reality, 3D hologram and wearable technologies as part of the futuristic everyday driving experience. The Synaptiq’s Sym-biotic User Interface Technology (SUIT) is designed to connect to the driver to the machine via a spinal lock attachment, which suspends the driver into the driving position and connects the driver’s thoughts to the machine. A liquid crystal canopy with an augmented reality system would display information to the driver.

John Sahs, interior design manager at Infiniti, and leader of the Synaptiq team, said:

Our designers loved participating in the LA Auto Show Design Challenge, conceptualizing how Infiniti drivers could interact with their vehicle in the coming decades. It’s extremely gratifying for the public to also dream a bit with us and identify with such ideas that may seem a bit futuristic, but may just not be that far away from reality.

Brain-Computer Interfaces (BCI) are, indeed, an apparently futuristic and weird technology that is fast becoming reality. The first medical applications of BCI technology to improving the life of severely disabled patients are more than a decade old. Today, there are commercial companies such as Emotiv Inc. that sell consumer BCI devices. Emotiv’s Epoc headsets can capture the user’s brainwaves in real-time and translate them into, for example, cursor movements on a screen or action commands that a suitably modified videogame can understand.

Awesome Applications of BCI and Neurotechnology

InfinitiIn related BCI news, Duke University neuroscientist Miguel Nicolelis recently presented his latest research on two rhesus monkeys that had electrodes implanted deep in their brains. The electrodes allowed the monkeys to steer a wheelchair using thought alone. Signals from deep in the brain are much easier for devices to read than ones picked up by electrical skin sensors on patient’s skulls, but of course this more invasive approach is not yet implemented in consumer devices.

BCI research has already permitted apparently “magic” demonstrations of the power of advanced neurotechnology. For example, researchers have successfully replicated a direct brain-to-brain connection between pairs of people as part of a scientific study following the team’s initial demonstration a year ago. In the newly published study, which involved six people, researchers were able to transmit the signals from one person’s brain over the Internet and use these signals to control the hand motions of another person within a split second of sending that signal.

BCI research is picking up speed – and significant funding. All seems to indicate that the next decade will see the beginning of a Golden Age of neurotechnology, with breathtaking implications. We may be able to drive our car by thought alone as foreseen by the Nissan researchers and develop artificial telepathy between persons far away. Like today’s cell phones – but implanted in the brain.

Images from Infiniti.

Giulio Prisco is a freelance writer specialized in science, technology, business and future studies.