Researchers Wow With Mind-Controlled Wheelchairs
(Daily360.com) – Wheelchairs have historically required manual manipulation to get from point A to point B. The age of technology brought forth the use of motors to move the wheels, making it possible for people bound to the devices to maneuver the world more freely. Now, scientists are on the precipice of another leap — a mind-controlled wheelchair.
On November 18, a group of scientists published a study on iScience, detailing the results of wheelchair technology that uses a brain-machine interface (BMI). The publication said three participants used the specialized wheelchair and corresponding device to see if they could use their brains to direct their chairs.
Mind-controlled wheelchair study shows promising results https://t.co/Vx5bCzxs2w
— Just the News (@JustTheNews) November 20, 2022
The subjects involved in the two-to-five-month study were tetraplegic, meaning all four limbs of each participant were paralyzed below their individual spinal cord injuries. During the analysis, they wore special caps that read their brainwaves.
Researchers gave each person a thought to communicate to the wheelchair. One direction would turn the chair to the right, whereas the other would direct the mobile seat to the left.
After sustained interactions between the three participants and their mind-controlled wheelchairs, their brainwave patterns changed to adapt to the new technology. One participant’s commands went through with 95% accuracy, while another’s soared to 98% by the end of the trial. Those numbers were vastly improved from the beginning readings of between 43% to 55%.
Although more studies are needed with more people, the results show a “potential pathway” for using BMI technology without invasive procedures and hope for the future for many individuals in the disabled population.
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