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Saturday, August 21, 2010

Steering by Sniffing

New, to my knowledge, In the CACM:

Device Lets Disabled Steer Wheelchair, Communicate by Sniffing
Weizmann Institute of Science

A unique device based on sniffing—inhaling and exhaling through the nose—might enable numerous disabled people to navigate wheelchairs or communicate with their loved ones. Sniffing technology might even be used in the future to create a sort of "third hand" to assist healthy surgeons or pilots.

Developed by Professor Noam Sobel, electronics engineers Anton Plotkin and Aharon Weissbrod, and research student Lee Sela in the Weizmann Institute of Science's Department of Neurobiology, the new system identifies changes in air pressure inside the nostrils and translates these into electrical signals. The device was tested on healthy volunteers as well as quadriplegics, and the results showed that the method is easily mastered. Users were able to navigate a wheelchair around a complex path or play a computer game with nearly the speed and accuracy of a mouse or joystick ... '

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