Control a slot car with your brain at Deakin Open Day Burwood

Prospective students will have the chance to race remote-controlled cars with their minds using brain-computer interface (BCI) technology at Deakin Open Day 2018.

The Mind Racer is just one of a raft of activities on offer to the thousands of visitors expected to attend Deakin’s Burwood campus this Sunday 26 August.

It employs a brain-computer interface experience to allow users to hook themselves up and control the cars with electrical impulses from their minds, racing against their friends and future classmates.

Deakin Vice-Chancellor Professor Jane den Hollander AO said Open Day was an opportunity for prospective students to be inspired and motivated to embrace challenges, and to feel confident that Deakin will prepare them for their future careers.

“Open Day provides a unique opportunity for prospective students to get to know Deakin at a critical time in their decision making,” Professor den Hollander said.

“We are able to demonstrate and show off our internationally-recognised facilities, learning platforms, courses, graduate outcomes, support services and extra-curricular offerings.

“And, crucially, Open Day provides visitors with the chance to talk to our talented and dedicated staff and our clever and passionate students.”

More than 25,000 visitors are expected to attend Deakin Open Day 2018 events across all four physical campuses.

Deakin Cognitive Neuroscience Unit researcher Lara Fernandez, whose work investigates neural connectivity using Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation and electroencephalography, said the Mind Racer activity was an example of the inroads being made with BCI technology.

“The Deakin Cognitive Neuroscience Unit is focused on using cutting-edge technologies to explore the relationship between the brain, behaviour and cognition,” Ms Fernandez said.

“BCI works by running brain signals through a series of computer algorithms that then translate these signals into a form that the machine understands.

“It’s an emerging technology, and it’s hard to predict when BCI will become part of our daily routines, but we’ll certainly see some major advancements in the next 10 to 20 years, as a greater understanding of the benefits of the technology leads to more research, which will lead to greater results.”

Ms Fernandez said assistive health and defence industries were two areas showing interest in BCI technology.

“In health, BCI research is showing promising results in the development of brain-controlled wheelchairs for people with physical disabilities, using machine-learning algorithms to transform specific brain signals into signals that manoeuvre the chair,” she said.

“In the defence industry, the emphasis is on removing the human from direct combat, in conjunction with enhancing human cognitive, motor and sensory capabilities.

“A further driver is competition, where it’s expected that those militaries that adopt BCI technologies will be at a significant advantage over those who do not.”

Australian Diamonds netball champion and Deakin ambassador Liz Watson will also be attending Burwood Open Day to help run the “Deakin Reactor” digital reaction time game and chat with prospective students.

Deakin staff, students and graduates will be available during Open Day events to highlight internships, international experiences, and entrepreneurship and graduate employment programs at the campus Employability Precinct, showcasing how the University prepares students for future work.

Deakin Burwood Open Day 2018 is being held this Sunday 26 August, from 9am to 3pm.

Head to deakin.edu.au/openday for more details. Visitors can also plan their day beforehand for the chance to win one of 20 $100 gift vouchers from Netflix, JB Hi-Fi, ASOS and The Iconic.

Deakin Burwood highlights and tour opportunities on the day include:

  • Centre for Advanced Sensory Science food demonstrations, where visitors can sample different freeze dried foods.
  • Genes in a bottle workshops, where visitors will be able to extract their own DNA and take home an amulet containing the DNA as a memento.
  • The Little L project virtual prehistoric experience, a virtual reality exhibition where participants can get up close and personal with “‘Leaellynasaura” – a wallaby-sized polar dinosaur found in the Otways.
  • Exercise and sport science lab tours, where visitors can observe the effects of impact force on test dummies to help understand the effects of concussion and impact trauma in sport.
  • Experience what it’s like to operate a real company with the MonsoonSim gaming platform and stock exchange at Deakin’s Telstra Trading Room.
  • Experience our state-of-the-art motion capture facility in the Deakin Motion.Lab showcase, where motion capture, animation, virtual reality and facial capture come to life.

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