We love hearing about new technology that helps those with disabilities control their wheelchairs and interact with their environment more easily. The newest such technological invention is an interface for wheelchairs that is controlled by brain activity. It aims to read and learn a user’s brain activity to help them control wheelchairs and prosthetic limbs.
Current brain-computer interfaces are controlled by right, left and null commands. However, they require intense concentration that can be extremely mentally tiring. Professor Jose del R. Millan and his research team at the Center for Neuroprosthetics have been working on a new type of interface that analyzes the user’s brain activity. It seeks to more easily discern when the subject is relaxed or sending a null command. This next interface requires much less concentration and can even recognize the user’s patterns of movement and preferences.
This new type of brain computer interface, called Shared Control, could help users better maneuver around objects and perform more precise tasks with their electric wheelchairs or prosthetic limbs. While it will still be some time before this cutting-edge technology makes the move from lab to production line, but we hope scientists continue to improve the device. It promises to make life easier for those with severe physical disabilities.
What new developments in technology or mobility aids have you seen that you are excited about? Wheelchair vans manufacturers are always trying to improve ramps and kneeling functions to make transportation easier… Have you seen any recent improvements you like?