Meet the thought controlled wheelchair

Scientists in Spain have successfully tested a wheelchair controlled entirely by your mind.

No longer confined to the realms of sci-fi, the X-Men-style chair (via Engadget) is expected to revolutionise the life of those with severe disabilities who are unable to use a traditional joystick.

(Image from video courtesy of the University of Zaragoza)

It works by presenting a real-time 3D image of the surrounding area on a screen in front of the user. To steer, the user concentrates on the area he wants to navigate to, while a cap reads his brain activity and transmits the information to a navigation system.

It's a far less mentally exhausting system than previous versions, with the chair doing all the work once the location has been chosen. Thanks to the inclusion of laser sensors, it's able to avoid obstacles in the way, too.

So far, the prototype can only handle two thoughts every minute, but expect more sophisticated models in coming years.

More Weird Tech this week

Earlier this week one eBay seller proved handsfree tech is "as old as the hills". His Nintendo Hands Free – a giant controller for the NES that straps to your chest, allowing you to control the adapted D-pad with your tongue – went for a whopping $540 on Wednesday.

In other news, physicists believe that warp-driven spaceships of Star Trek fame could one day be possible. Developing the travel tech will be no easy feat, however, with scientists searching for a way to move "space-time". Don't hold your breath…

One flying object that has made it through manufacture stage is the world's tiniest helicopter. Weighing in at a minute 0.5g, the PD-100 Black Hornet "nanocopter" fits in the palm of your hand and could provide future soldiers with "battleground intelligence at the flick of a joy stick" (providing it isn't too windy, of course).

Meanwhile, forget cameras and MP3 players – it seems projectors could be the next must-have accessory for your mobile, thanks to a partnership between laser-maker Corning and projector designer Microvision.

Trumping Samsung's Show, the embedded tech is laser-based, so it doesn't need optics to focus at different lengths, allowing 100-inch images to be displayed on any surface – no matter the distance or angle.

Gadget therapy

Is showering standing up all a bit too much? You want to try real bathing, the HydroGlass way. Complete with seven shower heads, the luxury device lets you shower lying down – on top of a fish tank, naturally, for added tranquillity. Optional accessories include a heated aquabed and soft warm water mattress.

In health-related news, a new wireless asthma inhaler brought the breathing device firmly into the 21st century on Wednesday. Adding IR and Bluetooth capability through a platform called Vena, the tech should help keep doctor and patient more closely connected.

And finally…

It's been the week for DIY. First the make-your-own solar iPhone/iPod charger; now the DIY Wolverine Claws?

One fan took his enthusiasm a little too far this week, posting a "dangerously awkward" video of his homemade razor-sharp Wolverine Claws deep in combat with some cardboard. Sadly, the video's since been pulled, so we'll never know who came out on top…

Julia Sagar
Content director, special projects

Julia specialises in ecommerce at Future. For the last four years, she’s split her time between leading TechRadar’s crack team of deal editors - covering all the biggest sales of the year including Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Amazon Prime Day - and helping the audiences of Future’s consumer tech and lifestyle brands (TechRadar, Tom's Guide, T3, Marie Claire, Woman & Home and more) find the best products and services for their needs and budget.

A former editor of global design website Creative Bloq, she has over 15 years’ experience in online and print journalism, and was part of the team that launched TechRadar way back in the day. When she isn't reviewing mattresses (she’s tested more than she cares to remember), or sharing tips on how to save money in the latest sales, she can usually be found writing about anything from green energy to graphic design.