Royal Philips and Accenture have joined forces to develop a proof of concept platform designed to give ALS patients and others with neurodegenerative diseases a means to communicate and control their environment, in spite of their paralysis. In a press release issued last week, the companies described how they use off-the-shelf components to improve the quality of life for these patients.
One of the key building blocks is a new brain wave monitoring device from Emotiv called the Emotive Insight. Scheduled to ship early next year for $299, this includes five sensors equipped with polymer pads that do not need saline solution or gels in order to be effective conductors. The futuristic headband also has a nine axis motion sensor. The device can read facial motions such as eye blinks, smiles, and clenched teeth. It communicates using Bluetooth LE, and an optional battery pack can extend run-times from the standard 4 hours to more than 16 hours.
The proof of concept platform is designed to let patients control lighting and televisions by Philips using brainwaves. It also lets patients connect with the Philips Lifeline Medical Alert Service, and can even be used to send text messages to a caregiver. It is designed to give patients back control over some aspects of their lives, and achieve greater independence than they have now.