New tech helps physically impaired enter virtual worlds

June 17th, 2008 - 7:40 am ICT by IANS  

Washington, June 16 (IANS) Relying on fleeting brain waves, a futuristic technology enables people with severe muscle disorder to operate computers and enter a 3-D virtual world to chat or stroll. The technology, demonstrated by Junichi Ushiba of Keio University, opens up a world of possibilities for serious motion-impaired people to communicate with others and to work normally.

This marriage of leading-edge technologies in brain science and the Internet also heralds the world’s first successful example to help the physically impaired meet people in the virtual world.

The system, which uses tiny electrodes attached to the scalp, has a computer that detects brain waves when the subject moves his or her fingers.

The computer detects the subject’s will to move forward, and transmits the message to the impaired person’s virtual image, or avatar, and makes it move forward.

The new system uses a portable electroencephalograph that is commercially available and can be installed at the subject’s home.

The technology will aid in developing communication tools and business tools to support the lives of people with serious movement disorders.

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