[Sept. 1, 2023: Yaobiao Li, Light Publishing Center, Changchun Institute of Optics]
Scientists have taken the first step towards real-time, remote and wireless mind control of metamaterials. (Credit: Creative Commons)
Metamaterials have attracted extensive attention from many fields due to their extraordinary physical properties. It has provided researchers with a new concept for designing synthetic materials, bringing strength and vitality to advanced functional materials.
As a two-dimensional counterpart to metamaterials, metasurfaces have unprecedented freedom to manipulate EM waves.
Through on-site programming, programmable metasurfaces (PMs) with multiple or switchable functions can be realized and integrated with sensors or operated by pre-defined software. Self-adaption significantly improves response rates by removing human involvement.
Switches between different functions on these PMs generally rely on manual operation. The basic framework is wired, manually controlled and non-real-time switched. Therefore, it is attractive to build a complete framework that can realize remote, wireless, real-time, mind-controlled functional metasurfaces.
In a new paper published in ELITE, a joint team of scientists led by Professor Xiaobo Qi and Professor Jiafu Wang of the Air Force Engineering University and Professor Cheng-Wei Qiu of the National University of Singapore took the first step towards real-time, remote Is. and wireless mind control of metamaterials.
Their paper, titled “Remotely Mind-Controlled Metasurface via Brainwaves”, proposes a framework for realizing this goal.
Traditionally, involvement and participation of humans is usually required for many scenarios. Humans must control the Metasurface directly with their mind. It is also well established that the human brain will generate brain waves in the process of thinking.
A schematic diagram showing how people use brainwave control to manipulate electromagnetic waves, which can be extended to some illustrative scenarios, such as attention monitoring, reconfigurable antennae, fatigue monitoring, etc. (Credit: Ruichao Zhu, Jiafu Wang, Tianshuo Qiu, Yajuan Han, Xinmin Fu, Yuzhi Shi, Xingxi Liu, Tonghao Liu, Zhongtao Zhang, Xuntian Chu, Cheng-Wei Qiu, Shaobo Qu)
The authors theorized that collecting brain waves and using them as control signals for the Metasurface would allow users to control the Metasurface with their mind. This would also improve the reaction rate of the metasurface. This development would be a major step towards a truly intelligent metasurface.
The research team achieved remote control by wirelessly transmitting brain waves from the user to the controller via Bluetooth. Its purpose was to use the user’s brain waves to control the EM response of the PM. By taking this route, they demonstrated an RMCM where the user can control the scattering pattern.
In the process of brainwave signal extraction and transmission, the TGAM module extracts brainwave signals and converts them into attention values. And the attention information is transmitted remotely from the Bluetooth module to the Arduino, which outputs different voltages by differentiated values. (Credit: Ruichao Zhu, Jiafu Wang, Tianshuo Qiu, Yajuan Han, Xinmin Fu, Yuzhi Shi, Jingxi Liu, Tonghao Liu, Zhongtao Zhang, Xuntian Chu, Cheng-Wei Qiu, Shaobo Qu)
The simulated and test results showed that the user’s brain waves directly controlled the result, with significantly improved control rate and switch rate. This shows that his model was far better than any existing model or product in the market. Their design can be further optimized to improve the accuracy of their instrument.
In the microwave anechoic chamber, the operator remotely controls the metasurface coding sequence via the brainwave module that will affect the scattering mode of the EM waves. The test showed that the EM wave can be controlled through the mind of the people. (Credit: Ruichao Zhu, Jiafu Wang, Tianshuo Qiu, Yajuan Han, Xinmin Fu, Yuzhi Shi, Jingxi Liu, Tonghao Liu, Zhongtao Zhang, Xuntian Chu, Cheng-Wei Qiu, Shaobo Qu)
The research team hopes to combine this with intelligent algorithms and improve processes in the future. They believe that their work can be easily extended to other mind-controlled functional or multi-functional metasurfaces. It may find applications in such diverse fields as health monitoring, 5G/6G communications, and smart sensors.
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Note: The above content is provided by Light Publishing Center, Changchun Institute of Optics. Content can be edited for style and length.
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