Philips unveils brainwave gadget concept

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Philips and Accenture have developed new technology that allows gadgets to be moved by brainwaves. This is especially designed to help patients with muscular movement deficiencies. For now, the technology is still at its proof of concept stage, and has not yet been tested, NU.nl reports.

Bob Koppes, project leader at Accenture, tells NU.nl that both parties hope the technology will become available for consumers. The technology was especially developed for people with the motor neuron disease ALS, whose motor functions disintegrate slowly. Patients with the disease often die within five years.

The technology works with a normal tablet with an Emotiv Insight Brainwave and smart glasses, like Google Glass, with a projected screen. The Emotiv Insight Brainwave is a headset that measures brain activity.

As the device is coupled with synchronized gadgets, the theory is that the user can move these gadgets around with simply two kinds of input. This could mean two keyboard inputs, two speech orders or two thoughts.

"The system works with brain commands. The patient is asked to visualize something, like a cube moving in a certain direction" Koppes explains. The system recognizes the brain activity belonging to this thought and can couple a task to this.

To make the task more direct and specific, the thoughts have to be as unique as possible, Koppes says. Colors, sounds and movements will help to fine-tune the command.

Philips and Accenture have made it possible to operate the system with brain commands, speech commands or just hand or eye movements. This is because ALS patients can deteriorate quickly, being able to move their eyes and fingers well one moment, and suddenly not anymore.

Juwel Cecilia, project leader at Philips, says that the system could be compatible with any product with an open protocol. During the proof of concept, only Philips products were used, however.

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