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---- PROTOTYPE --------- PURPOSE: To design a prototype of a sniff controller for individuals with paralytis and disabilities ranging from quadriplegia to “locked-in-syndrome.” Individuals who are paralyzed from the neck down may be able to guide their movements by sniffing into tubes. The nerve regions that receives signals from the roof the mouth/soft palate that control the ability to sniff are often unaffected by paralytic injuries and disorders. The scientists at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel, devised a new sniff controller that uses tubes placed up the nose to measure sniff-triggered changes in nasal air pressure. Individuals with severe disabilities were able to navigate an electric wheelchair, control a mouse cursor, play simple computer games, utilize an interface to write email and surf the Internet. Individuals with Locked-in Syndrome were able to write text with the device as well. While promising, the sniff modality results vary based on the abilities of the patient physically and mentally to learn to use the device; however, the device may still be useful to many individuals and prove much simpler to implement than techniques which try to control external objects by direct brain activity or brain-computer interface. AUTHOR: Charles Q. Choi. TITLE: Sniff-Controlled Keyboards, Wheelchairs Invented: New devices help paralyzed people move; "locked-in" patients communicate. WEBSITE: National Geographic Daily News. REF: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2010/07/100728-science-technolog....
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