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The nose knows... how to let quadriplegics move and speak (video)

Sean Hollister
07.27.10
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We've seen quadriplegic transportation directed by brainwaves, speech and even the occasional Wiimote, but your best bet might be to follow your nose. Israeli nasal researchers at the Weizmann Institute of Science unveiled a "sniff controller" this week, that measures nasal pressure to control a wheelchair joystick with surprising precision (see a video after the break) and a specially-developed typing interface. The latter is likely the more important advancement, as Discover heartwarmingly reports at the source link, by giving patients with locked-in syndrome (a la The Diving Bell and the Butterfly) the long-lost ability to speak. Best of all, the technology is inexpensive compared to alternatives on the market; while a Stephen Hawking-esque eye-tracking system can cost tens of thousands of dollars, Weizmann scholars reportedly pieced the prototype together for $358. The device is already being considered for public availability by the institute's technology transfer company, Yeda R&D -- find out just how it works in the full study at our more coverage link.






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