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The eyes have it: how technology allows you to speak when all you can do is blink

Developments in eye-gaze technology – which converts minute movements of the eye into spoken words – are opening up undreamed of opportunities for people with motor neurone syndromeSteve Thomas and I are talking about brain implants. Bonnie Tyler ’s Holding Out For a Hero is playing in the background and for a moment I almost forget that a disease has robbed Steve of his speech. The conversation breaks briefly; now I see his wheelchair, his ventilator, his hospital bed.Steve, a software engineer, was diagnosed with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a type ofmotor neurone disease) aged 50. He knew it was progressive and incurable; that he would soon become unable to move and, in his case, speak. He is using eye-gaze technology to tell me this (and later to turn off the sound of Bonnie Tyler); cameras pick up light reflection from his eye as he scans a screen. Movements of his pupils are translated into movements of a cursor through infrared technology and the cursor chooses letters or symbols. A speech-generating device transforms these written words into spoken ones – and, in turn, sentences and stories form.Continue reading...
Source: Guardian Unlimited Science - Category: Science Authors: Tags: Motor neurone disease Medical research Technology Society Science Health & wellbeing Life and style Source Type: news

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