Technology not only helps people in the search for information but also helps people ease their tasks or even replace their roles. A wheelchair is one that has experienced changes and developments due to technology. From wheelchair cushions to mind control wheelchairs, we can find them now.
A mind-controlled wheelchair is a device interfacing between mind and machine, which uses the mind (nerve impulse) to direct the movement of a wheelchair. This wheelchair is very important for patients suffering from locked syndrome (LIS), where the patient knows what is happening around him but cannot say it.
LIS cases have occurred a lot, some patients are in a coma for up to 23 years or more than 1 year. They are not dead but they are locked in a rigid body called LIS. The wheelchair that can be controlled with this mind might be able to help people with LIS who cannot communicate with people around them when they want to travel for example. Besides, this type of wheelchair can also be used if there is muscular dystrophy, a disease that weakens the musculoskeletal system and impedes movement (walking or moving).
John Donoghue and Braingate who discovered this new wheelchair technology deliberately created it for patients with very limited mobility, which will be helped when they want to use the wheelchair alone (without the help of others).
The BrainGate device is implanted into the patient’s brain and connected to a computer where patients can send mental commands, which can make any machine including a wheelchair do what they want. This new technology is called BCI or a brain-computer interface.
The mind-controlled wheelchair functions using a brain-computer interface, known as an electroencephalogram (EEG) worn on the user’s forehead, to detect nerve impulses that reach the scalp to enable the microcontroller to detect the user’s thought processes, interpret them and control them.
The wheelchair is equipped with various types of sensors, such as temperature sensors, sound sensors and various proximity sensors that detect surface unevenness. It also has a “safety button”, wherein case of danger, the user can close his eyes quickly to trigger an emergency stop.