Thought Controlled Wheelchair

Texas Instruments, a designer of digital signal processing solutions has showcased a thought-controlled motorized wheelchair. Jointly developed by Texas Instruments and Ambient Corp, this wheelchair happens to be the world’s first thought-controlled motorized one.

The recently showcased Texas Instruments wheelchair is not controlled mechanically nor is it controlled by speech. Rather, it is controlled by thought together with a slight movement of the Adam’s apple.

These days, you do get wheelchairs for the disabled which requires them to press a button to say a word or phrase. However, for those people who are severely disabled and who do not have such physical strength, the Texas Instruments wheelchair could be an ideal solution.

When the user of the thought-controlled wheelchair wants to communicate, the implanted sensory/larynx control system sort of ‘reads’ the electrical signals that the brain uses to command the larynx to speak.

After this, the sensor processes and sends this information to a computer, which carries out a direct command in the form of motor control.

Praveen Ganapathy, Director – Corporate Business Development, Texas Instruments India said, “Applications such as these demonstrate beyond any doubt that there are increasingly fewer limits to how innovative technology can better the lives of disadvantaged people.”

“Different brains use different signals to form different words, but the computer can be trained to understand the brain by hooking it up to the patient, asking him to think specific words at specific times and noting the signals the brain produces,” said Michael Callahan, co-founder and CEO, Ambient Corp.

The Texas Instruments-Ambient Corp developed wheelchair was showcased at the Texas Instruments Developers Conference (TIDC) India 2007 on November 29, 2007.