It’s often said that if you wish for something hard enough, it might just come true. That appears to be the latest avenue the team at Amazon is exploring as part of ongoing efforts to get the company’s drone delivery ambitions off the ground.
Amazon Prime Air has become better known for outlandish patents than actual drone deliveries in recent times. In the past few years, the online retailer has filed patents for emergency self-destruction systems, a flying distribution center, drone beehives, and methods to fix drones onto delivery trucks – just to name a few.
Powering Drone Delivery With Wishful Thinking
The latest Amazon patent – which details a headset worn by a remote pilot that transmits brainwaves to both power and control the delivery drone – is certainly one of the retailers more ‘out there’ proposals.
However, the plan is based on reality. Researchers at the University of Florida have been using brain waves to control drones in enclosed environments since 2015, for example.
The concept is based on Electroencephalography (EEG) technology, an existing method that issues commands to a drone by detecting activity in specific parts of the brain.
With several months of training, algorithms can recognize brain patterns and their corresponding actions. All Amazon’s drone delivery pilots would have to do, in theory, is think about the action of fulfilling a delivery along with the relevant address. The drone would respond accordingly.
There’s a long way to go, as with many of Amazon’s drone patents. But the notion shouldn’t be ruled out entirely. Most interesting is the patent’s emphasis on ‘positive thoughts’.
The document suggests that: “With enough training and Sudoku, a small core team at Amazon fulfilment centres could control our entire fleet of delivery drones, transporting packages across the country without lifting a finger.
“Key to the relationship between drone and pilot is positive thoughts. It’s these that are most easily manifested into direct commands that the drone’s AI can understand.”
Watch this space.
…and the date. It’s April 1st. Thanks for playing along with our April Fools tradition!