Opel Is Showing Off the First Automobile You Can Start With Your Mind

Think happy thoughts

The Paris Motor Show is taking place from Oct. 1-16, and Opel has a surprise for visitors to its stand—an Opel Astra you can start with your mind.

Guests are invited to sit comfortably in a chair facing the car, where they're outfitted with a headset that'll get the engine humming with the right mental feedback. The experience has conveniently been dubbed "Opel Mind." 

"Visitors wear a connected helmet which measures their brain activity and communicates it via Bluetooth to the vehicle, which is equipped with a specially designed device," explains co-founder Jean-Baptiste Herman of Tips Tank, which crafted the experience alongside Reinsdyr.

"As the visitor increases the production of certain brainwaves, the helmet picks them up, transmitting them to the car, causing it to start up," he says. 

Tips Tank and Reinsdyr worked with Opel engineers to bring the idea to life, aiming to highlight the General Motors brand's commitment to the Connected Car and its potential uses. (Little Vader would be impressed.) Like skydivers who never stop talking about that one time they jumped out of a plane, visitors who try it can take home a video to share with others. 

"Today, innovative researchers and neurologists are looking into the idea of man controlling machine," Herman goes on. "Our offer lies in this domain, but we're applying it to client experience. … The Paris Motor Show was the perfect opportunity to unveil this experience and convince even the least impressed." 

The future of mobility is rife with imaginative contenders. Earlier this year, BMW released an AI-powered concept car that lends the impression of "reading" drivers' intuitions and desires. No headset is required; the Vision Next makes recommendations based on environment, and remembers previous preferences. 

Two years ago, Nissan debuted a self-cleaning car prototype—which, if we were put to a vote, we'd probably still leap at the chance to have. (Washing a car takes forever. Turning a key takes, well, a second.)

It remains unclear what thoughts get Opel's motor running, but don't expect to see it on the road anytime soon. The "Opel Mind" remains a demo. 

UPDATE: As of Oct. 14, "Opel Mind" was awarded the Innovation Grand Prix at the Paris Motor Show. Congratulations to the team!