Assistive Technology News

Add-On Technology Allows Electric Wheelchairs to be Controlled by Thoughts

Researchers led by Kiran George at California State University, Fullerton, have developed an affordable ‘mind-controlled’ electric wheelchair by combining a mobile application with a specialized headset that detects brain waves. The system, which is controlled by specific thoughts and facial expressions, can be easily retrofitted to existing electric wheelchairs, and will be priced under $150, […]

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Japan Approves Robotic Exoskeleton That Helps ALS Patients Move Limbs

Japan’s health ministry has approved the manufacture and sale of a wearable walk-assist robot as a therapeutic medical device for orphan diseases. It is the first wearable medical robot to be approved in Japan. Just one of several such technologies from the Japanese company, Cyberdyne, the Hybrid Assistive Limb for Medical Use, lower limb type […]

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Improved Neural Implant Speeds Typing for ALS Patients

The latest iteration of the BrainGate Neural Interface System (NIS), called BrainGate2, has enabled two paralyzed participants with ALS to type words on a computer screen simply by imagining their finger moving. The patients received implants into their motor cortex of microelectrode arrays , which decoded neural signals produced by the patients to move a cursor […]

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New Remote-Controlled Probe Can Manipulate Brain Function

Scientists have combined the powers of nanotechnology, optogenetics, and gene therapy to create a remote-controlled, wireless brain implant that can release drugs, viruses, or shine light with just a click of a button. According to the report in the July 14 Cell, senior authors John Rogers from University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and Michael R. Bruchas […]

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Virtual Reality Headset Uses Eye Tracking Technology, Potential Applications for PALS

A new cutting-edge virtual reality (VR) headset that uses eye-tracking technology is gaining traction on Kickstarter and has already exceeded its fundraising goal. The headset, developed by Tokyo-based startup, FOVE, uses infrared sensors to detect the position and orientation of users’ eyes, which can control games and programs through movement and blinking. Considering how transformative […]

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Keyboard Typing Patterns May Contribute to Parkinson’s Diagnosis

An individual’s style of keyboard typing is so distinctive that it can be used as a biometric signature for security purposes. A new study out of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) suggests that this signature can also be translated into a potential diagnostic tool for detecting motor impairments. The researchers have developed an algorithm that […]

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Cal State Team Developing Affordable Brain-Computer Interface Communication Device for ALS Patients

A team of researchers from California State University, Fullerton, has received funding from the Disability Communications Fund to develop a low-cost, brain-computer interface-based communication device for ALS patients within a year. The team, lead by Kiran George, is developing a device based on a wireless headset with 4-5 sensors to track patient biosignals, such as […]

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Acapela Group Application Helps ALS Patients Create Their Own Voice

One of the most debilitating aspects of ALS as reported by patients is loss of the ability to speak. Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) solutions developed to synthetically recreating a patients voice before it is lost are a big step forward in maintaining this aspect of patients’ identity. The technology company Acapela Group announced the […]

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New Speech Generating App Uses Patients’ Own Voice

UK company Therapy Box has just launched a new application to replace standard text-to-speech devices with a speech generator based on the user’s own voice. The Predictable 4 App is a text-based Augmentative and Alternative Communication application specifically designed for people with speech impairments resulting from ALS, stroke or other causes. The app now incorporates […]

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Intel and MJFF Partner to Use Smartwatches in Parkinson’s Disease Study

Large datasets of information about patient symptoms, disease progression and drug effects can be a goldmine for understanding complex diseases. Aiming to better understand Parkinson’s disease (PD) and its clinical progression, Intel and the Michael J. Fox Foundation (MJFF) have partnered to collect such data from thousands of PD patients via smartwatches. In order to […]

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