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  • Puzzlebox Orbit on All-American Makers

    Tech Game Changers: Puzzlebox

    Six super tech toys at Toy Fair 2013

    “…wow-factor toys go to another tech extreme: They work via your brain activity. The company has serious products but also some very cool toys”

    Tech toys your kids will love

    These playthings with built-in technology make ideal holiday gifts

    “You guide this ‘brain-controlled helicopter’ using a NeuroSky MindWave EEG headset that the maker claims picks up on your level of attention or relaxation. So you’ll learn to control those things yourself with the help of visual and physical feedback, and then control the Orbit.”

    Using brain waves to fly a helicopter?


    Six Innovators to Watch in 2013

    “And no, it won’t fetch you a beer: For several years now, Steve Castellotti has been all about brain-powered machines. But his latest innovation, Puzzlebox Orbit, is taking the concept to the public. It’s a little helicopter you control with your mind.

    Given that this is not something we do every day, it comes enclosed in a protective sphere so the rotor blades don’t chop up the furniture. It also comes with a device called the Puzzlebox Pyramid, which serves as a combination base/remote control unit for the chopper. But since your mind is doing the controlling, the Pyramid’s role is to wirelessly transmit your brain activity from a headset you wear. It also lets you know how you’re doing–a circle of LED lights on the Pyramid’s face is designed to reflect your level of concentration or relaxation.

    Thanks to a funding boost from Kickstarter, Castellotti and his chief engineer and partner Hao Zhang plan to start selling the Puzzlebox Orbit for about $90 next year. But Castellotti believes it won’t become just another pricey tool that ends up in the basement. He sees it as teaching tool that can be used in schools to introduce kids to neuroscience and also as a way for people for people to start to become familiar with the potential of biofeedback.

    To spur that process, the company will make its source code and hardware schematics available and encourage developers to hack away. For example, says Castellotti, a “motivated experimenter” might hack the Puzzlebox system so his TV would automatically change channels when his concentration level stays too low for too long. Say so long to vegging out.”

    Puzzlebox Orbit mind-on: brainwaves and hack-friendly helicopters

    “But here on the Showstoppers floor, we came across the type of gadget that gets us positively giddy: the Puzzlebox Orbit. Hack-happy geeks take note, Puzzlebox encourages your creative tinkering, so it’s made the software open source, opening the door to any number of applications.”

    Watch Someone Steer This Toy Helicopter With Her Mind

    “The folks at Puzzlebox, an open-source project meant to teach people about neuroscience, developed a toy helicopter that is steered by a pilot’s brainwaves last year. A headset reads the EEG, or electroencephalography, signals from the brain, which in turn control the motions of the copter.”

    Gadget Show Live at Christmas: The seven coolest toys to check out next week

    The brain trust at Puzzlebox have put together an amazing spherical flying machine that you can control with your brain thanks to the Neruosky EEG headset, and with concentration and focus, you can fly and land the Orbit around the room. With a bit of training, you’ll be able to make it soar with even more impressive results, making it go further and higher with just a brainwave.

    CES 2013: Mind-controlled helicopters, games for kids with ADHD

    “It was as if Charles Xavier himself held court on the CES showroom floor, sending drones flying with just his mind. Except that the X-Man in question was a middle-aged Asian convention attendee wearing a brain-wave-reading headset from NeuroSky.”

    NeuroSky: Hardwired

    Brain Games: Move Objects With Your Mind To Find Inner Calm?

    The device was designed to train me to concentrate on one single thought as much as possible. Focused attention changes certain electrical patterns inside the brain. The EEG headset picks up those changes and, in turn, drives the helicopter.”

    Puzzlebox Orbit – Brain-Controlled Helicopter

    “Aptly named, the Orbit consists of a small helicopter whose propellor spins inside an open spherical cage. Used in tandem with the system’s NeuroSky MindWave EEG headset, pilots can fly the Orbit by clearing their minds, focusing on the device, and maintaining uninterrupted concentration after liftoff. It’s as much of a tool for developing attentive skills and mental relaxation as it is a toy for showing off telekinetic powers.”

    Brainwaves to raise the tech game

    “Companies around the world have been trying for years to tap the power of the mind to control different gadgets, as executives hope to one day make buttons and dials obsolete for navigating technological features.

    One such device now fuelled by brainpower includes the Puzzlebox Orbit, a US$89 to $299 toy helicopter that operates through a headset which records electrical activity from the mind. It requires “focused concentration” or “a state of mental relaxation” to elevate the machine and took two years to develop.”

    10 Awesome Innovations (You Can Have Right Now)

    If you thought unmanned drones couldn’t get any more sci-fi, consider yourself corrected. The Puzzlebox Orbit is a digital flyer that’s controlled by your brainwaves. Your brainwaves.

    Mind Over Matter: Using EEG to Improve Focus

    “The ability to influence objects with sheer brain power has typically been designated to the realm of science fiction, but new advancements in EEG technology allow the average consumer to gain insight into the inner workings of their mind via headset.”

    I think, therefore it flies: Orbit helicopter is controlled by your deepest thoughts

    Mind-controlled toys are really taking off.

    The Quirkiest Tech of 2013

    “When it comes to quirky tech gadgets, 2013 has no shortage.

    For starters, how about a helicopter that you can fly with your mind?”

    Watch Me Levitate a Remote Control Helicopter with My Mind

    “The first thing you need to know about mind-controlled helicopters is that they feed on relaxation or concentration. So when the Puzzlebox Orbit started lifting off the ground before I could even start to meditate, I have to assume it’s because CES had already reduced my brain to ooze.

    The video above was shot after multiple attempts, when I’d finally coerced my mind into getting hyperactive enough to prevent the helicopter from immediately flying away. Usually it’s not that easy — Puzzlebox CEO Steve Castellotti recommends simple brain exercises, such as solving math problems or running through the alphabet in another language to get the chopper airborne.”

    Fly Puzzlebox Orbit With Your Mind

    “What we love about the Orbit’s design is its completely spherical shape. It’s rare that you find such a futuristic-looking object that’s built purely for fun… and scientific exploration, of course. Remote control helicopters have a tendency to be fragile and don’t stand up well to often inevitable (and sometimes entertaining) impact. Puzzlebox has successfully tackled that problem with Orbit’s well thought out form factor.”

    Brain-controlled helicopter takes mental concentration to new heights

    “A toy helicopter controlled by nothing but brainwaves could be available to the public just in time to hover under this year’s Christmas tree.”

    “Aside from its obvious entertainment value, Puzzlebox are pitching the Orbit as an educational toy that will help improve concentration and relaxation skills.”

    “‘Sure, it’s a fun toy first and foremost, but once the initial novelty wears off it doesn’t have to end up at the bottom of the toy box … it’s yours to reinvent,’ he says.”

    Founders Forum – betting on our tech future

    “The Puzzlebox demo looked futuristic but the company says the technology employed has been used to help patients suffering from locked-in syndrome or other conditions for some years. Now it is being commercialised and marketed as an educational tool to promote concentration in the classroom.”

    Mind-controlled architecture, drones, and costume cat tails

    After publishing free plans and code for controlling RC helicopters via brainwave data from NeuroSky and Emotive headsets, they Kickstarted the Puzzlebox Orbit as a finished product late last year. Their goal was $10,000 and they ended with nearly $75,000. The Puzzlebox Orbit is now on sale $250. The best part is that you can still build your own by following the HOWTO over at Instructables.”

    Tech ahead of the curve: 12 great recent innovations

    “We can understand why. Iterative products might seem like they are not worth the expense.

    But that’s not true with every new gadget and piece of technology.

    The innovative new gear in this list offers something brand new and cutting edge that breaks the norm.”

    Puzzlebox Orbit: Flying a Mind-Controlled Helicopter

    ” The same technology that makes the Necomimi cat ears move is now being used to pilot remote control helicopters. At CES 2013, Neurosky, the company behind the Mindwave Mobile, showed off some other products that work on brain power, such as the Puzzlebox Orbit, a small $189 helicopter that flies around when you concentrate hard enough.”


    Off-the-beaten-track at CES 2013

    ” But it was the Puzzlebox Brain Controlled Helicopter that was the star attraction. First there was a remote control helicopter craze. Then there was the Parrot smartphone controlled helicopter. This is 2013. If you’re going to fly, you fly with your mind!

    Steve Castellotti, CTO of Puzzlebox, let me have a go. You have to concentrate on something, anything, and the more you stay focused on that task, the more the helicopter will stay airborne. It automatically tries to hover in the same place, so you’re not trying to fly it around the room. You’re just trying to keep it aloft.

    For the record, singing the lyrics to Katy Perry’s California Gurls in my head worked pretty well, but repeating the spelling of antidisestablishmentarianism over and over worked the best. I’m glad memorizing the spelling of that word back in fifth grade finally paid off.”

    CES 2013: Flying a Helicopter With My Brain

    “It’s one thing trying to move an object on a screen by thinking about it. Yeah, you can do it, but it doesn’t seem like a big deal. It’s vastly more interesting (and potentially embarassing) to move a real object through space. So I couldn’t resist trying the latest gadget to use the Neurosky interface, the Puzzlebox Orbit, from a little company called Puzzlebox.”

    Neurogadget interviews Puzzlebox founder Steve Castellotti

    “A few weeks ago we met in San Francisco with Steve Castellotti, the founder of Puzzlebox, to discuss the Orbit helicopter, BCI’s, neuroscience in education, and the power of open-source technology.”

    CES 2013: Move Cat Ears and Fly a Helicopter With Your Mind

    “But, of course, at CES they were showing something more flashy with the MindWave — a way to fly a remote-controlled helicopter with your mind. It goes up when you are interested, down when you aren’t.”

    Brain-Controlled Puzzlebox Orbit Helicopter Makes Waves at CES

    “If you think about it just enough, you can make a helicopter fly.

    The Puzzlebox Orbit, which launched on Kickstarter last November and debuted Tuesday at the 2013 International CES conference in Las Vegas, is making waves with its brain-controlled helicopter toy. We saw it in person, and were tickled by the ease with which you could pilot the device.”

    Channelling your inner Eastwood: CES 2013 offers brain-wave technology

    “It’s not quite Firefox – the movie, not the search engine – but companies are developing exciting mind-controlled gizmos

    If you were a 10-year-old boy in 1982, the most exciting film of that year was not Tootsie, or Blade Runner, or even ET, but a rather ridiculous action thriller called Firefox, in which Clint Eastwood plays a US pilot who steals a fighter jet from the Soviets.

    Not just any fighter – a super-duper prototype controlled by thought. A mere shimmer of a thought and you could turn left, turn right, fire, kapow! The notion appealed far more than cycling around with a bald alien in a basket.

    Three decades later, CES 2013 gave me the chance to live the fantasy, sort of, courtesy of NeuroSky and PuzzleBox, two companies which are pioneering brain-wave technology.

    “You just have to concentrate,” said Steve Castellotti, the founder of PuzzleBox, strapping a black band around my head. A sensor node rested on my forehead, a device clipped to my ear. Castellotti tapped on a computer. “Ready.”

    I channelled my inner Eastwood – in a cockpit, braced for G-forces. A green light on the computer flashed. And hey presto, lift-off. A toy helicopter the size of a squirrel whirred upwards. Flying by thought!

    The glory was intense, but fleeting. Seconds later the helicopter plunged – apparently I lost concentration – into Castellotti’s waiting hands.”

    Control the Puzzlebox Orbit Helicopter With Your Mind

    “First launched on Kickstarter back in November 2012, the Puzzlebox Orbit brain-controlled helicopter is creating quite the buzz at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, drawing throngs of people who all want to try levitating the helicopter with their minds.”

    The Brain Controlled Puzzlebox Orbit Helicopter – CES 2013

    Patrick put his powers of concentration to the test as he tried out the Puzzlebox Orbit.

    The mind-reading headset that controls a helicopter

    “Another firm, PuzzleBox Orbit, makes use of the brainwave reading hardware to fly a helicopter. Focus in the right way, and the helicopter flies upward; lose your focus, and the toy falls out of the sky. The helicopter itself is wrapped in a protective sphere, as the $139 gadget is clearly going to be hitting the ground with some frequency.”

    Digital health for kids, seniors and workout buffs

    “More recently, Puzzlebox used the same technology to power a toy helicopter. Less therapeutic and more just cool, the Orbit flies up when you concentrate and can drop back down when you break concentration. The product, which started as a Kickstarter campaign, costs $189 and will begin shipping soon.”

    With Puzzlebox Orbit helicopter, your brain is the remote control

    “It’s an odd concept, and was pretty boggling that the device actually worked. At a highly focused level, the Orbit sprang into the air with great speed, forcing us to quickly look away to get it to drop back down to the ground”

    Sky’s the Limit with the NeuroSky Mind Bending Helicopter

    “CES just had a mind bending moment with our hands on experience with the Mind Controlled Puzzlebox Orbit. The small helicopter lowers and rises based on the concentration of the one who wears the linked NeuroSky EEG Bluetooth headset The headset attaches round the face like a eighties headband, and utilizes the same sensors that make the Necomimi Cat Ears wiggle . The EEG sensors use brainwaves to pick up on concentration rhythms and depending on the focus you expend, the helicopter should rise and fall.”

    Brain-Controlled Helicopters: How Do They Fly?

    “At a recent Consumer Electronics Show, a number of attendees were intrigued by ‘Puzzlebox Orbit’, a model helicopter which its inventor claims can be controlled by the operator’s brain waves.”

    An app a day keeps the doc away

    “There is, however, a gadget you can strap around your head to harness your brainwaves. ‘You just have to concentrate,’ says Steve Castellotti, the founder of PuzzleBox, snapping a black band around my head. A sensor node rests on my forehead, a device is clipped to my ear. Castellotti taps on a computer. ‘Ready.’

    My brow furrows, my eyes squint and hey presto, a toy helicopter buzzes upwards, controlled by my thoughts. The device works by measuring brainwave electroencephalogram and heartbeat electrocardio-graphy. Seconds later the helicopter plunges. I lost concentration.

    The point of the software, says Andrea Shukis of NeuroSky, which has partnered with PuzzleBox on the brain-controlled helicopter, is to teach the value of concentration and focus. ‘You can use it to teach children and to help adults keep their brains active.’”

    The Future of Play: The Best of The American International Toy Fair

    Steve Castellotti and his team at Puzzlebox have taken interactive toys to a much deeper level than we’ve seen before. Like into the depths of your mind power deep! They developed Orbit, a brain-controlled copter that anyone can operate with an EEG headset.


    Rosemont School of the Holy Child’s Nicholas Mangano is Main Line Student of the Week

    “MLMN: You were interviewed by Channel 6 for a segment on controlling LEGO robots with your thoughts. What was your most vivid memory of that experience? What did Channel 6 ask you about the program?

    Mangano: Using a program called Puzzlebox Brainstorms, we could control LEGO® robots with our brain waves. The more we concentrated, the faster the robot would move. My most vivid memory was actually watching myself being interviewed on the news. I also remember that it was easy to be interviewed by Aditi Roy. She asked me what I thought about the program, and what I concentrated on to make the robots move.”

    Mind-Controlled Helicopters Invite Experimenting

    “Over the holiday season, hundreds of people opened their gifts to find toy helicopters—that they could fly with their minds. But beyond being an entertaining toy, Puzzlebox founder Steve Castellotti says he hopes the Puzzlebox Orbit, a mind-controlled toy helicopter, will be the springboard to new scientific developments.”

    Game changer opening access to the brain

    “One notable project is a brain-controlled wheelchair, led by Steve Castelloti, CTO of Puzzlebox, which has implications for the mobility of people with spinal cord injuries. Castelloti’s work is focused on Puzzlebox Brainstorms, an open source software suite aimed at introducing students to basic neuroscience and brain-computer interfaces (BCI).

    In 2010, Puzzlebox demonstrated the first version of the system. The user was fitted with the EPOC headset, which transmitted to a module within the Puzzlebox Brainstorms BCI software housed in a laptop computer. An Arduino – the popular open-source single-board microcontroller – was used for setting direction control, while a custom interface box simulated the wheelchair joystick controls.

    While the original system allowed the user to move the wheelchair by thinking about the direction they wanted to move, the concentration required to keep the wheelchair in motion, and the distinct thoughts needed to execute simple commands like left and right, created a lot of mental strain just to be able to move around.

    Castellotti and his team realised that quadriplegics and paraplegics placed more importance on increasing personal independence and restoring control of bodily functions, and so redesigned the solution into a hybrid wheelchair and “telepresence” robot.”

    EEG the Locomotion

    “The use of brainwaves as control parameters for electronic systems is becoming quite widespread. The types of signals that we have access to are still quite primitive compared to what we might aspire to in our cyberpunk fantasies, but they’re a step in the right direction.”

    39 Gadgets From CES 2013 That Parents Could Actually Use

    “Let’s be honest Dads and Moms, as we get older we tend to lose some mental sharpness. For years people have blamed TV and technology for rotting our minds, but in 2013 technology is here to save our minds!”

    “How about flying a helicopter with just your brain? The PuzzleBox Orbit is a RC helicopter that you control with your thoughts. Strap on a EEG headset and concentrate to make it fly.”

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