Saturday, May 26, 2012

Lou Gehrig’s disease

two severely disabled people
suffering from a condition
known as Lou Gehrig’s disease
have been able to control
Avatars in the virtual world
... ‘Second Life’.

Lou Gehrigs disease means that somebody
with the condition can leave
people so severely paralysed
that they can only move their
eyes. It is also known as
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis or ALS for short.

The two
disabled people mentioned
were part of a larger study
group of over 50 disabled
people who were given access
to a new brain – computer interface or BCI.

Developed by a company that
specialises in medical
engineering, G.Tec of
Schiedlberg, Austria – the new
interface allows users to
explore virtual worlds as well as operate lights, TV’s and
anything else connected to the

Similar brain computer
interfaces have existed for a
while but this system differs
in that it is much more
accurate and can more
accurately detect brain waves.

A common type of brain
signal that is produced when a
user is suprised by something
is known as the P300 and it is
this that the brain computer
interface detects. Using icons on a screen, they
can detect the peaks in the
P300 signal of the persons
brain giving a way for them
to control whatever the
interface is set up for. In this instance, it was controlling an
avatar in the online virtual
world ‘Second Life’. The company hopes to add
similar control functions to
wheelchairs and other devices
that will give more freedom
to the severely disabled and
increase their independance and mobility. What a great thing, when
technology and medecine can
come together to enrich the
lives of those much less
fortunate than ourselves.
hope this technology becomes more prolific in the future.

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