Dutch firm Royal Philips and Ireland-based IT consultancy firm Accenture are developing a new software to help people with neurodegenerative diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, live more independently.
The software allows patients with neurodegenerative diseases to control household devices such as electric bulbs and televisions using eye, voice or brain commands. The technology also allows them to request medical assistance.
The application has a wearable display and Emotiv Insight Brainware, which scans EEG brainwaves and translates them to readable data through a connected tablet.
Emotiv technology has sensors to track the electric signals produced in the wearer’s brain, to detect the thoughts, feeling and expressions in real time, while a wearable display in the system gives visual feedback to the wearer to navigate through the application menu.
Both firms have developed the proof of concept of the software that allows the integration and interaction between these technologies.
Philips CEO of Healthcare Informatics Solutions and Services Jeroen Tas said: "This proof of concept exemplifies how people, devices, data and technology could be brought together quickly to connect beyond the hospital walls in a way that can potentially help improve the quality of life for patients, wherever they are in their journey.
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"Philips will continue to collaborate with innovative technology companies such as Accenture to explore new wearable and sensor solutions that change peoples’ lives and create a healthier future."
Each year approximately 400,000 people are affected by ALS, which impairs brain and spinal cord nerve cells, gradually diminishing voluntary muscle action.
The Accenture Technology Labs in San Jose, California collaborated with the Philips Digital Accelerator Lab in the Netherlands to create the new application.
The display’s user interface was designed by Fjord, a design consultancy owned by Accenture Interactive.
Accenture chief technology officer Paul Daugherty said: "This proof of concept shows the potential of wearable technology in a powerful new way, helping people with serious diseases and mobility issues take back some control of their lives through digital innovation.
"It is another demonstration of how Accenture and Philips, collaborating with other technology innovators, seek to improve the lives of people with healthcare challenges."
Image: Emotiv Insight, a 5 channel, wireless headset that records brainwaves and translates them into meaningful data. Photo: courtesy of PRNewsFoto/Royal Philips.