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Fwd = Canadian University Developing 'Mind Reading' Device

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  • Frits Westra
    Forwarded by: fwestra@hetnet.nl (Frits Westra) Original Subject: Far Shores News Story: Canadian
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 29, 2001
      Forwarded by: fwestra@... (Frits Westra)
      Original Subject: <URL:http://www.100megsfree4.com/farshores/nmind.htm> Far Shores News Story: Canadian University Developing 'Mind Reading' Device
      Original Date: Fri, 28 Sep 2001 18:42:46 -0400 (EDT)

      ========================== Forwarded message begins ======================

      >>>>>> FarShores News

      Posted Sep 28.01


      Canadian University Developing 'Mind Reading' Device
      [Original headline: 'Mind-reading' machine to help disabled]

      VANCOUVER (CP) -- A mind-reading device being developed by a
      University of Victoria biologist and a team of 40 other volunteers
      could allow severely disabled people to communicate more effectively.

      "We have a sense deep down that this is going to work whereas six
      months ago it was a hope," said Nigel Livingston.

      The device, called a Cyberlink, is being developed to pick up brain
      signals from disabled people who can't speak and must instead use
      tedious means to communicate with others.

      The Cyberlink will look like a headband. People wearing it will have
      electrodes placed on their head to pick up brain signals.

      Livingston said test subjects have already shown that people can
      control their brain signals depending on what they're thinking about.

      To communicate a message, disabled people would generate varying
      brain frequencies for a certain letter of the alphabet to form words,
      much like Morse code.

      Signals would be sent into a computer attached to the Cyberlink. The
      researchers hope that eventually, a voice synthesizer will be used to
      translate the information into electronic speech.

      The science-fiction-like work has been dubbed the Claire Project
      after Claire Minkley, an exceptionally bright Grade 12 student who
      has a genetic condition similar to cerebral palsy.

      Claire, 17, currently communicates using her eyes -- looking to the
      right or left -- and pointing to groups of letters on a letter board.

      The process requires help from her parents or an aide and is
      extremely tiring because it yields only about 20 words an hour, said
      John Minkley, Claire's father.

      Communication is slowed down further because involuntary muscle
      spasms interfere with Claire's attempts to get her message across, he
      said.

      Despite requiring a wheelchair and being unable to speak or write
      because she has poor muscle control, Claire is a straight-A student
      who wants to study physics and math in university.

      "We're very excited about the project because Claire's success at
      university really depends on developing a better communication system
      than she has at present," Minkley said.

      Livingston said the goal is to train Claire and others to control
      their brain wave patterns, much like fully functional people can
      control movements by using their muscles.

      Livingston said Claire's ability to solve complicated problems in her
      head and memorize pages of information means she has tremendous
      control over some brain processes.

      "We're very confident that she'll be able to go beyond that in terms
      of generating coherent brain signals," he said.

      The research project involves the University of Victoria Assistive
      Technology Team, a group that includes electrical engineers,
      physiologists, psychologists, machinists and neuroscientists.

      Undergraduate and graduate students are also volunteering by
      developing software.

      The device being developed by Livingston's team is modelled on one
      used by U.S. air force pilots who must perform several tasks while
      flying a plane.

      Story originally published by:
      CNews | Camille Bains - Sep 27.01

      All Copyrights co are acknowledged.

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