Upcoming wearable can put your thoughts into action

Here is an exciting blog article from Venkat at Assistive Technology blog. I am sharing this news because the prospective uses for the technology discussed below would overcome many obstacles that people with communication difficulties face everyday. I look forward to it being refined and put into common practical use!

Ever said “you read my mind!” to someone who said the same thing you were just about to say? Researchers at MIT are making this a reality. A new wearable invented at MIT, called AlterEgo, is a device that sits on your ear, loops behind it, and attaches to your face. What’s special about this device is that it recognizes non-verbal prompts – things that you are thinking in your mind, and responds to them. This wearable device also attaches to a computer system that translates your thoughts into a command that is understood by it, thus prompting a response.

There are certain locations on your face that generate neuromuscular signals when you think about something. Researchers working on AlterEgo worked on identifying those locations – first they found that 7 different location were consistently able to distinguish internal verbalization, and with more experiments, they started finding comparable results with just four locations, which meant that the wearable wasn’t going all over your face with electrodes and being intrusive. After identifying those signals, they sent them to a computer that could translate and analyze them, and eventually associating them with different words. The wearable responds, either in the form of an action, or in the form of an audible answer. For example, you may be looking at your Netflix screen on your TV and wanting to browse through all of the movies displayed. Just thinking “right” would make the Netflix screen to navigate to the next displayed movie. Similarly, just saying “what is the time?” to yourself in your mind will make the wearable say the time out loud to you. What’s also interesting is that the wearable uses bone conducting headphones which means that your ear is still available to you for any other conversation you may be having with another person. The researchers also tried it with a game of Chess (the user would just think about the opponent’s move and the wearable would respond by suggesting the next move), and with basic arithmetic operations.

Currently, AlterEgo has the accuracy of 92%, and responds to around 20 words. The researchers are confident that this wearable would learn more words with more training data, and would scale up very soon in the near future.

Of course, this wearable can be used by any non-verbal person, and someone who cannot operate a device (and control the device with just their thought), but other applications of this device could be communicating with others in extremely loud environments (air traffic personnel  directing flights on the tarmac or at a concert) where there would be no need to speak – just your thoughts would be communicated to the other person!

Watch the video below to learn more about the current prototype and go to the source links to learn more about AlterEgo.

Source: http://assistivetechnologyblog.com/2018/04/alterego-wearable-responds-thoughts.html

 

Advertisements

Apologies

Good evening and apologies,

My laptop died and I have been locked out of my blog until now. I am back and look forward to sharing more info with those who are interested!

Tomorrow is a new day…….

Bonsoir et mes excuses,

J’ai remplacé mon laptop et j’ai été bloqué hors de mon blogue. Je suis de retour et je continue de partager des informations utiles avec toute personne interessée !

Nous recommençons demain !

Christie

An almost-perfect AT device at the CMHR Winnipeg

Something that I myself have been trying to instigate in certain public venues is an accessible device that is so universally-inclusive that it will enable even those with communication difficulties to navigate and enjoy a venue such as a museum, mall, campus, or hospital.

Well, a colleague has just introduced me to a small museum, the Canadian Museum of Human Rights, in Winnipeg which kind of got there first. Revised in 2015, they provide a free App (or a free loaded device) which enables visitors to navigate and enjoy the museum. The audio information is available in English, French, ASL, LSQ, and in transcript form.

I applaud this museum in Winnipeg for indeed pioneering an App that makes the building, the information, and the experience accessible for everyone. Perhaps I should not be surprised that it is the Museum of HUMAN RIGHTS which was one of the first to make this necessary leap!

You can find out more about it here:

https://humanrights.ca/blog/pioneers-inspiring-mobile-experience

New technology enabling brain-brain & brain-computer communication

Who hasn’t tried to send a message telepathically? Whether it was in grade 5 and you were trying to tell your best friend across the room a secret message, whether it was just this morning trying to tell the slow driver in front of you to go, or whether it was your grandfather clearly trying to give you a non-verbal message which you just didn’t understand….but you wished you could understand – well, someone has actually succeeded in making it happen!

In 2014, scientists and researchers in Barcelona achieved the first non-invasive human brain-to-brain communication. For details see here:

http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0105225

This type of technology is called Brain Computer Interfaces, or BCI for short, and has progressed greatly in less than a century, and includes the first brain implant only 20 years ago. Although the idea that a human brain can control a robot across the galaxy seems like something taken directly from Dr Who, amputees have been using their minds to control their own prosthetic limbs for a few years now. This includes Leslie Baugh, who lost both arms in an electrical accident 40 years ago and became the first shoulder-level amputee to wear and simultaneously control a pair of mind-controlled prosthetic arms.

Never left behind in the tech scene, the gaming world has already begun testing BCI gaming and virtual reality systems for fun (https://www.hindawi.com/journals/cin/2016/3861425/) and also for physical and mental rehabilitation (http://factor-tech.com/feature/brain-computer-interfaces-the-video-game-controllers-of-the-future/).

However, the need for a communication device to communicate with non-verbal humans has been discussed for a while now (https://www.uwo.ca/fhs/csd/ebp/reviews/2009-10/Deagle.pdf), and even though limited messages have been sent as far as from India to France, John Trimper, an Emory University doctoral candidate in psychology, points out that, “It is, however, not too soon to start considering the ethical implications of future developments, such as the ability to implant thoughts in other people or control their behavior (prisoners, for example) using devices designed for those purposes. “The technology is outpacing the ethical discourse at this time,” Emory’s Trimper says, “and that’s where things get dicey.”” Read more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/innovation/why-brain-brain-communication-no-longer-unthinkable-180954948/#VXxELMtlXeiRkJoH.99

 

 

le cerveau bilingue

The Bilingual Brain : an interview by Ana Inés Ansaldo in French

Une équipe de chercheurs de l’Université de Montréal est arrivée à des conclusions intéressantes après une étude auprès de personnes âgées. Le cerveau de personnes unilingues et celui de personnes bilingues ressentent les effets du vieillissement de façon très différente. Dr Ana Inés Ansaldo nous explique.

Écoute ici :

http://ici.radio-canada.ca/emissions/l_heure_de_pointe_acadie/2015-2016/chronique.asp?idChronique=427042

Un livre nouveau sur l’AVC

A new book in French discussing various aspects of stroke

Auteurs : Annie Rochette et Philippe Gaulin

Le moment où survient un accident vasculaire cérébral (AVC) n’est pas banal ; pour certains, il s’agit de la date d’un anniversaire ou d’un événement significatif et surinvesti émotionnellement. Les témoignages présentés dans ce livre permettent de mieux comprendre en quoi les facteurs psychosociaux, affectifs et symboliques sont déterminants de sa survenue.

Cette phénoménologie de l’AVC se veut l’expression du cadre typique d’une topologie des processus de formation des symptômes ; elle élabore la méthodologie théorique et clinique d’un entretien phénoanalytique qui se fonde sur les principales thèses de la phénoménologie, de la psychanalyse et de l’analyse existentielle.

Aux limites de la démarche philosophique, clinique et scientifique, ce livre pourra intéresser aussi bien les professionnels de la santé qui travaillent auprès des gens qui ont fait un AVC que les chercheurs universitaires utilisant l’approche phénoménologique. Cet ouvrage suscitera naturellement l’intérêt de la personne qui a subi un AVC de même que celui des gens de son entourage qui demeurent les sujets les plus concernés par cette pathologie.