advertisement
08 March 2009

Thought-propelled wheelchair

Italian researchers have developed a wheelchair that obeys mental signals sent to a computer.

0

Italian researchers have developed a wheelchair that obeys mental signals sent to a computer.

The researchers at Milan's Polytechnical Institute artificial intelligence and robotics laboratory took three years to develop the system, Professor Matteo Matteucci told AFP.

The user is connected to a computer with electrodes on his or her scalp, and sends a signal by concentrating for a few seconds on the name of the desired destination - kitchen, bedroom, bathroom - displayed on a screen. The computer then guides the wheelchair to the selected room using a preset programme.

Doesn't read minds
"We don't read minds, but the brain signal that is sent," Matteucci said. The chair is equipped with two laser beams that can detect obstacles.

The Milan lab is already in contact with companies that could produce a commercial prototype aimed at quadriplegics, Matteucci said, adding that it could take between five and 10 years.

Reasonable cost
Such a wheelchair would cost only 10% more than a classic motorised wheelchair, according to the institute. Research to develop the so-called Brain Computer Interface began in the early 1980s around the world. Matteucci said a handful of other researchers were working on similar projects to his, including the Federal Polytechnic School in Lausanne, Switzerland.

"Eventually, a research consortium should be set up that will use all these projects as a basis for finding the best approach," he said. "We've now started work on getting the chair to operate outdoors using a GPS," Matteucci added. - (Sapa-AFP, March 2009)

Read more:
Tongue technology for paralysed

 
NEXT ON HEALTH24X
advertisement

Read Health24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Live healthier

Hello? »

SEE: Interesting facts about hearing loss Earworms: Let it go Is it bad to sleep with earplugs all the time?

SEE: Do women hear better than men?

The reason why men often appear not to be listening could be because they actually can't hear you.

Confident smile? »

Acidic drinks can harm your kids' smiles The facts on bleaching your teeth Am I taking good care of my teeth?

Why are my teeth stained?

We know the rules – brush your teeth twice a day and floss to keep them healthy. But, have you ever wondered what causes those stains that sometimes appear?