EMDT_European Medical Device Technology

European Medical Device Technology, Summer 2015

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emdt.co.uk European Medical Device Technology Summer 2015 | 11 Mind Controlled Medical Device Wins Medtec Start-Up Academy Award In the summer of 2014, thousands of people uploaded videos to social media in which they dumped ice water on their heads. The so-called Ice Bucket Challenge was intended to raise awareness and money for the fight against amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a condition that can lead to complete paralysis of patients. Pasquale Fedele, an Italian computer science engineer, also par- ticipated in the viral campaign and published a video on YouTube in which he was doused with a bucket of ice water. However, his video differed from the many others on the Internet: The bucket that hung over Fedele's head was emptied as a result of the movement of a toy drone. Interestingly, the drone was not navigated via a joystick, but by means of a headset developed by Fedele and his team. The head- set is equipped with EEG sensors that measure electrical impulses in a person's brain. Certain thoughts and intentions of movement gen- erate a distinct pattern of electrical activity that can be recognized by an algorithm. Just by thinking of simple orders like 'up' and 'down', the operator navigated the drone that knocked over the bucket. Fedele told EMDT that the drone was a nice way to generate attention. However, the application for the technology he had in mind is intended to help patients with ALS, multiple sclerosis, or stroke. People suffering from these conditions sometimes become completely paralysed, unable to communicate with the outer world. According to Fedele, there are currently about 3.700.000 severe cases worldwide. The assistive device developed by Fedele's company, Liquidweb, allows those patients to communicate again. It consists of the headset that interprets the electrical activity in the patient's brain and an app on a tablet PC. When asked a question, the paralysed patient can 'push' Yes or No on the display, or can select simple statements like 'I am cold' in the 'sentence finder' of the app. Fedele explains that the electrical patterns differ from person to person so that the system needs to be calibrated for new patients. However, training new patients how to use the device and adjusting the algorithm to them requires only 40 minutes. Liquid- web is planning new applications for its Braincontrol technology. In the next step, it wants to refine the communication features. Additionally, the device can be linked to home automation systems, allowing patients to alter the room temperature, for example. After further development, the technology will be used to steer a wheelchair and to diagnose the patient's state of consciousness. Liquidweb is currently already working on connecting the device to robotic applications like exoskeletons that can be worn by the patient and operated through thoughts. The company recently won the Medtec Start-Up Academy, a competition to find the most innovative medical device start-ups in Europe. Liquidweb prevailed over 18 other finalists that presented their ideas at this year's Medtec Europe event in Stutgart. - T.K. www.microspecorporation.com +1.603.924.4300 • info@microspecorporation.com 327 JAFFREY RD • PETERBOROUGH, NH 03458 • USA Scan with your SmartPhone SINGLE AND MULTI-LUMEN TUBING BUMP TUBING • CO-EXTRUSIONS MICRO-EXTRUSIONS • PROFILE EXTRUSIONS SOLID CORE GUIDE WIRE COATING TRI-EXTRUSIONS • MULTI-LAYERED EXTRUSIONS FULLY ENCAPSULATED STRIPES OVER-EXTRUSIONS • NEW CONCEPTS FOR OVER 25 YEARS, medical device companies the world over have turned to Microspec for medical tubing that challenges the limits of extrusion technology. Microspec extrudes most thermoplastic elastomers and engineering resins, as well as fluoropolymers including FEP, and custom compounds. Contact Microspec with your extrusion challenge — we'll create a solution. redefining the limits of extrusion technology... ISO 9001:2008 medical extrusions

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