Thought controlled cars anyone?

Brain controlled car
Robocop wasn't entirely happy with his latest undercover car

Wouldn't it be great if you could control your car merely by thinking about it? The experts at the AutoNOMOS project clearly think so. After experimenting with iPhone and iPad-controlled cars, they've come up with something more interesting: a car you control with brainwaves.

All you need is a Volkswagen Passat, EEG sensors and a whole bunch of clever software. The BrainDriver isn't intended for production, but AutoNOMOS hopes that the research could help with fully autonomous vehicles such as automated taxis, "for example, when it comes to decide which way you want to take on a crossroad while the autonomous cab drives you home".

I'll be Blackjack

The robots are coming, and they're really good at playing cards. That's what the New York Times says, anyway: poker bots have raised their game, and they're taking the shirts off their human opponents' backs.

One bot, the Holdem Poker Bot, has been banned from the Full Tilt poker site, with the site banning over 400 bots and seizing winnings of more than $50,000; another site, PokerStars, has found ten bots and returned $57,000 to its human players.

Fulltilt poker

BOTS BANNED: Full Tilt poker has banned over 400 bots, which have won more than $50,000

According to Professor Tuomas W. Sandholm of Carnegie Mellon University's poker research group, most bots are a waste of time: most lose money, while the very best bots "can rival good players, but not the best - yet."

The magic touch

How would you feel if you were touched by a robot? Our answer would be: it depends on where it touched us, and whether it had bought us dinner first.

Georgia Institute of Technology has more serious concerns, however, and researchers have been experimenting with robot nurses to see whether people will accept them.

NOW COUGH: If you thought a real doctor's hands were cold, wait until Metal Mickey gets his hands on you [via Machines Like Us]

It seems that the key is intent: if we think the robot is trying to comfort us, we're fine; if we think it's after our brains or it jumps out of a cupboard shouting "boo!", we're not so relaxed. The research is crucial if we want robot helpers in the healthcare of the future: there's no point having them if they scare everyone silly.

Hot Hadron Time Machine

Remember when scientists claimed the Large Hadron Collider might open a black hole and swallow the Earth? There's a new theory, and it involves vests. Should the Collider find the so-called "God particle", the Higgs boson, Tom Weiler and Chui Man Ho think there might also be a second particle, the Higgs singlet.

The Vanderbilt University scientists reckon that these singlets should have the ability "to jump into an extra, fifth dimension where they can move either forward or backward in time and reappear in the future or past", says

Hadron collider

WORLDS COLLIDE: This is what happens when you give Dr Emmett Brown a bigger budget [image: CERN]

Apparently the theory is sound, and is based on the M-theory, or "theory of everyting", which suggests that our universe is a four-dimensional membrane or "brane", which floats in a multi-dimensional space-time called the "bulk". Does anyone else suspect the boffins are just making this stuff up?

Carrie Marshall

Writer, broadcaster, musician and kitchen gadget obsessive Carrie Marshall (Twitter) has been writing about tech since 1998, contributing sage advice and odd opinions to all kinds of magazines and websites as well as writing more than a dozen books. Her memoir, Carrie Kills A Man, is on sale now. She is the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR.