Brain Computer Interface Conferences

Meet Me in Philly at the CodeCamp

Philly.NET CodeCampI’m joining Nick Hodges in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania for the Philly.NET Code Camp 2014 Refactored. I’ll be showing off the latest version of Appmethod, including the Free Forever C++ for Android version. Astute readers may have noticed that my sessions are not on .NET, and the conference isn’t actually in Philadelphia. I’m guessing that is the “Refactored” part.

If you are in the area, stop by and say hi. They still have tickets for the two day event where you can catch all three of Nick and my sessions, and maybe a few others if you are interested.


Unit Testing: What it is, Why you should be doing it, and how to do it

Saturday, June 21st, 2014 at 7:30 pm on 

Michael Feathers defines “legacy code” as “code that has no unit tests”. Without unit tests your code is fragile, hard to change, and unreliable. Unit testing is the only way that you can be sure that your code does what it is supposed to do.

This talk discusses the basics of Unit Testing by defining terms, discussing what Unit Testing is and is not, and talking about the best techniques and practices for writing unit tests.

All the demos will be in Delphi code, but the principles all remain the same: There no longer is an excuse for not writing unit tests.

Is Thought the Future of Mobile Input?

Sunday, June 22nd, 2014 at 10:30 am on 

The Brain-Computer Interface (BCI) is a mainstay of science fiction, but devices are appearing today to use our brainwaves as a computer input. Is it practical? How far away is it? What sort of input is possible and where is it being used?

We will look at the roots of the technologies that allow a view of the inner functions of the human mind, as well as the possibilities for direct input to, and augmentation of the mind, perception and thought processes. The process includes real-world examples and a demonstration with volunteers controlling software and hardware with only their thoughts and feelings. Gain an understanding of how this still evolving and largely unknown technology really works, how it can be used, and its longer-term implications.

Sharing Code and UI between iOS and Android

Saturday, June 21st, 2014 at 12:00 pm on 

You want to develop on Android and iOS, but rather not have to recreate your app or UI for each platform. This session shows you how to reuse up to 100% of your code and user interface to create native iOS and Android apps using Appmethod and C++. This isn’t your daddy’s C++ either; it has ARC, enhanced RTTI, visual designer, components and no pointer arithmetic (unless you are really into that).

Examples covering access to device sensors, local data storage and remote services. Also how to create a mobile app that extends the functionality of your desktop apps.

I plan on finding a good authentic Philly Cheesesteak Sandwich while I’m there too!

Philly Cheesesteak Sandwhich

Brain Computer Interface Conferences News

Meet Me in Chicago & D.C./Baltimore for a First Look at XE6

I’m joining Bob Swart and Cary Jensen for the U.S. cities of their annual Delphi Developer Days 2014 tour with the keynote and a free evening event. During my keynote and the evening session I’ll show off Google Glass development with XE6, as well as using an EEG Brain-Computer Interface to control a Mini-Cooper via Bluetooth.

I highly recommend you find time to attend the whole two days of training. I always learn a lot.

May 5-6, 2014: Washington DC/Baltimore
SpringHill Suites Arundel Mills BWI Airport
Register for Training in Washington DC/Baltimore
The free evening event starts at 6:30 PM on Monday the 5th with pizza and drinks. Same location. [Register for free event]

May 8-9, 2014: Chicago
Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites, Arlington Heights (O’Hare Airport)
Register for Training in Chicago
The free evening event starts at 6:30 PM on Wednesday the 8th with pizza and drinks. Same location. [Register for free event]

Delphi Developer Days are two-day live Delphi events that provide you with the latest information on Delphi as well as practical techniques to help you improve your Delphi development skills. Each event includes both joint sessions, presented by Bob and Cary together, as well as simultaneous tracks, where Cary and Bob break out into separate rooms to present individual sessions. There is also an Embarcadero Technologies Keynote by Jim McKeeth and guest speaker sessions with Nick Hodges (former Delphi product manager) of Veeva Systems in DC/Baltimore, and with Ray Konopka of Raize Software in Chicago.

A wide variety of topics are covered. Some topics, such as FireDAC and mobile development, apply to the latest versions of Delphi, but there are also many topics that apply across many versions of Delphi. See the detailed description and agenda.

All attendees receive:

  • An extensive course book (several hundred pages in length) written by Cary and Bob that includes the material covered in their sessions
  • Source code examples from their sessions
  • A chance to win valuable prizes from sponsors.
  • Lunch on both days

Space is limited to the first 42 people in each city. There is a discount for attendees of previous 2009-2013 tours, and group discounts are available when registering three or more people from the same company.Visit for complete information.Platinum Sponsors: Embarcadero Technologies, Sybase, An SAP Company, and TMS software. Gold Sponsors: Devart, Dr.Explain, Gnostice Information Technologies, and Raize Software.

Brain Computer Interface Delphi Projects gadgets

Thought Controlled Quadcopter

Last night I “controlled” my Parrot AR.Drone Quadcopter with my thoughts through my Emotiv EPOC Brain Computer Interface via an app written in Delphi XE5. I qualify “controlled” in that my flight pattern was a little irregular and short before I crashed it. It was a “look mom, no hands” moment though as the drone was clearly responding to my thoughts for the few seconds before it crashed. I’ve got a lot of work to do in improving the process, so I will be posting code and videos soon. If you want to get a start on it though, it is based on my work from the Devices and Gadgets webinar.

I’m presenting tomorrow at Boise Code Camp on “Is Thought the Future of Wearable Input?” and if all goes well I’ll have a brief demonstration of the tech in action. If you are in the area my presentation is at 11 AM in the Special Events Center at Boise State University.

Brain Computer Interface devices gadgets webinar

Connecting Delphi to my Brain with the Emotiv EPOC

Emotiv EPOC NeuroheadsetThe Emotiv EPOC might seem more Sci-Fi than practical technology. It is designed to pick up on brain waves through its 14 brain wave sensors (plus 2 reference receivers) and convert them into a usable signal for your computer. For head tracking it also includes a head mounted gyroscope.

The sensor input comes in 4 different categories:

  • Head rotation: The gyroscope returns acceleration information about the movement of your head.
  • Facial Expressions: Referred to as the Expressiv Suite, it processes the signals to detect facial expressions in real time. This includes winks, smiles, and eye movement.
  • Emotions: The Affectiv Suite provides real time emotional feedback including frustration, distraction, etc.
  • Direct Thought Control: The Cognitiv Suite lets you define trained brain patterns that you associate with different outcomes. When you repeat the brain pattern the system responds appropriately.

If you want to play with the Emotiv EPOC it is $500 for the developer set. The normal consumer set only works with official licensed software. It comes with a nice control panel that lets you play with the different inputs.

Thanks to the work of Simon J. Stuart (aka LaKraven) the SDK has a full Delphi translation. I have a short demo using the gyroscope. The brain access systems were giving me a handshake error, but that may be a commentary on my brain power.

My next objective is to unlock the brain interface and combine that with the Parrot AR.Drone api so I can fly the quadricopter with my mind.

That was part of the 11 demos in our Devices and Gadgets webinar. You can access the full replay on demand, which includes access to most all the drivers, wrappers, apis and source code. The only missing source code is to Allen Bauer‘s bluetooth infrared velocity screen system. He’ll have a blog post about that one.

Android Brain Computer Interface devices gadgets iOS Mobile

Connecting to the Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 from Delphi XE5

My first thought when I see cool technology is to figure out how to connect to it with Delphi. So the day I got the Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 quadricopter I started working on Delphi interface. By the time evening rolled around the batteries were dead (after a couple recharges), but I had a basic interface working. The official developer guide seemed to be a little out of date, or I was reading it wrong, but once I got my facts staight, connecting was really easy. The Parrot AR.Drone has it’s own access point. Once you’ve connected to it, then it is simply a matter of sending UDP packets for the basic controls. To accomplish that I simply used the Indy UDP Client: TIdUDPClient. Each command is sent with an increasing sequence number, so I initialize my interface as follows:

  udp := TIdUDPClient.Create(nil);
  udp.Host := '';
  udp.Port := 5556;
  seq := 1;

The AR.Drone is always at since it is the access point, and the port for communication is 5556 (one of a few ports, but the one we need for now.) It is worth pointing out that if you’ve previously flown your AR.Drone with the FreeFlight mobile app then you may need to reset your drone to unpair it. Otherwise it is paired to only that device. The commands are formatted with an AT* prefix, and a series of arguments. For example, to take off, the command is AT*REF=1,290718208 where AT*REF is the command, 1 is the sequence number (always the first argument) and 290718208 is a bitmask that means take off. I created a SendCommand routine that looks like:

procedure TARDrone.SendCommand(cmd, arg: string);
  full: string;
  if not udp.Active then Connect;

  full := Format('%s=%d,%s' + Chr(13), [Cmd, Seq, arg]);
  Seq := Seq + 1;

Notice the command is terminated with a carriage return (#13). The documentation says line-feed (#10), it is wrong. Supposedly you can send multiple commands in the same message, if they are separated by the carriage return. I haven’t tested that. Then I can send the some common commands like this:

  SendCommand('AT*REF','290718208'); // Takeoff
  SendCommand('AT*REF','290717696'); // Land
  SendCommand('AT*CONFIG', '"control:altitude_max","10000"'); // unlimited altitude
  SendCommand('AT*CONFIG', '"control:altitude_max","5000"'); // restrituded altitude - unsure what units 500-5000.
  SendCommand('AT*PCMD','1,0,0,0,0'); // Hover (stop movement)

PCMD is the move command. It takes 5 arguments (after the sequence number.) The first is the controller type, which we are leaving 1 for now. The next 4 are phi, theta, gaz, yaw and they are floating point numbers in an integer representation. This is where it gets interesting. The documentation says:

The number –0.8 is stored in memory as a 32-bit word whose value is BF4CCCCD(base 16), according to the IEEE-754 format. This 32-bit word can be considered as holding the 32-bit integer value –1085485875(base 10).

The first way I thought of to access the same memory as two different types is a variant record. So I came up with the following helper routine:

function IEEEFloat(const aFloat: Single): Integer;
  TIEEEFloat = record
    case Boolean of
      True: (Float: Single);
      False: (Int: Integer);
  Convert: TIEEEFloat;
  Convert.Float := aFloat;
  Result := Convert.Int;

Using that I built a move routine that takes 4 singles (32-bit floats) and sends them as integers:

procedure TARDrone.Move(const phi, theta, gaz, yaw: Single);
    [IEEEFloat(phi), IEEEFloat(theta), IEEEFloat(gaz), IEEEFloat(yaw)]));

Now if I want the drone to go up I can call:

  Move(0,0,5.6,0); // positive gaz is upward acceleration

Now it is just a matter of figuring out how to the rest of the movements map to the physical worked and building a user interface on Android, iOS, Windows or Mac. Maybe all 4! Once I build up the API a little bit more I’ll share some full working apps and libraries. Let me know if you are interested in collaborating on such.