The creator of the iBrain, a portable EEG device, has said the technology could be used to read the minds of patients suffering from debilitating conditions. The device was used to record the brainwaves of Stephen Hawking. That test, in which Hawking was asked to concentrate on certain words or commands, will be used to fine tune the device to allow it to better interpret a person’s commands so that they can manipulate their surroundings using just their thoughts. Hawking suffers from a neurological disorder, ALS, which leaves him mostly paralyzed apart from some facial muscles. The control he has now, which he uses to operate his wheelchair and speech program, will gradually fade away as the disease progresses. The physicist was diagnosed with Lou Gherig’s disease when he was just twenty years old and told he had very little time left to live. He is now seventy years old and is probably the world’s most famous theoretical physicist.
The device manages to read patients minds by recording their brain waves and processing them with a special algorithm. The algorithm is then used to convert the electrical signals from the brain and deliver commands to devices. The technology could be used to bring a better quality of life to thousands suffering from conditions that cause them to lose motor function. Some Neurological diseases, like Hawking’s Lou Gherig’s and others such as MS and physical paralysis, are incurable and patients often need twenty four hour care in order to deal with their circumstances. The i Brain if successful could bring motor function to those without and give them a more independent living standard. Coupled with robotic systems it could provide quite a change in the lives of those suffering from such conditions.
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The iBrain is still being refined and is not yet being marketed but the development shows that the product does exist and that it could become a possibility in the future. Home EEG devices are already available though they are concentrated on people who wish to study their own sleep patterns. The iBrain is different and with the right backing could become a powerful force for good in the world and an excellent investment opportunity for any willing to risk it in the cutting edge medical device field. The device was developed by Dr. Philip Lowe, the CEO of NeuroVigil Inc.