The NeuroFly simulator is a pilot project between DDT-RUK Research Laboratory and AFormX, the aviation company, as part of the MCRUK Network of Centres for Research Arts and Culture project. The aim of the project is to combine a VR flight simulator with a brain-based computer interface that allows the user to communicate directly between the brain and the simulator, and thus to directly control the aircraft in the simulation.
AFormX is a dynamic high-tech aviation company from Trbovlje. It comprises a prototype workshop, which primarily manufactures and assembles ultralight aircraft and composite parts for the aerospace industry, and a development department, which, among other things, develops flight simulators using virtual reality goggles and web portals for remote learning. Their best projects are built at the intersection of the skills of an interdisciplinary team that is not afraid of a challenge. AFormX has received numerous awards, most notably the Gold Innovation Award from the Slovenian Chamber of Commerce and Industry in 2018 and winning the Royal Aeronautical Society’s 2019 Fastest Electric Racing Car competition.
The user controls the NeuroFly plane via a brain-computer interface. A Brain Computer Interface (BCI) is a powerful computer system that allows direct communication between the brain and the device that the brain wants to control and operate. The aim of a BCI system is to allow users to control a device using only brain activity. The operation of BCI devices is based on the interaction between two adaptive controllers: the user, who must be able to deliberately elicit the correct brain signals that will trigger a command, and the BCI system, which must translate these signals into commands and execute them. Operating the brain interfaces is therefore a skill that both the user and the system have to learn by adapting to each other on an ongoing basis.
In the NeuroFly installation we use the Unicorn Hybrid black, manufactured by g.tec, an Austrian company specialising in invasive and non-invasive brain-computer interfaces and neurotechnology.