"Brain fingers" helps disabled

October 26, 2008 6:34:39 AM PDT
Ever wish you could use your brain power to "will" something to happen?New technology is enabling patients at a South Jersey facility to do just that.

For most of his 20 years, Adam Matos has been disabled by Spinal Muscular Atrophy...or SMA.

He can't use his hands, and his speaking ability is limited.

But Adam still dreams of getting a college degree.

To fulfill those dreams, he went to Voorhees Pediatric Facility, to learn to use 'Brain Fingers.' It's a tool that uses his brain to do what his limbs can't.

Adam Berr, ATS., the Rehab technology Coordinator at Vooerhees Pediatric, says, "Brain Fingers can do everything from being a single switch that he's clicking to select stuff, to manipulate a mouse cursor on the screen."

Sensors on a headband monitor the alpha and beta waves of the brain, as well as movements of the forehead and eye area.

Those are the "fingers" Adam controls.

When he moves those areas of the face, or gets the brain waves to certain levels, the computer cursor moves.

Games like Pong help Adam have fun while doing the long hours of training for 'Brain Fingers.'

As Adam completes a game, he gets cheers from the machine, as well as more encouragment from his trainer. "17 seconds - better than last time."

The rewards for mastering Brain Fingers are big.

Students at Voorhees Pediatric have learned to access the Internet, communicate with family and friends, and take online classes.

Adam hopes to begin his first college course soon.

As his trainer continues the lesson, he asks Adam, "Clear the text. Can you do that for me? Good."

The settings on 'Brain Fingers' are calibrated to each child's abilities.... So it can pick up movements even if they're barely visible to the naked eye.

If a child can think it, 'Brain Fingers' can do it.


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