Academics develop mind-controlled wheelchairs for tetraplegics

When it comes to advancements for people with neurological impairments and paralysis, brain-computer interface (BCI) projects by Neuralink and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA’s) Brain Initiative show huge promise, especially when it comes to mobility.

There are some huge problems though. Progress on this front is often slow, expensive, and — by and large — fails to transfer from a lab setting into the real world.

But that’s not to say that there aren’t other organizations making huge strides in BCI tech for people with paralysis.

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This week saw a paper published by a German, Italian, Swiss, and American academic team looking at just that. It shared a successful research project where three participants with tetraplegic spinal-cord injuries (paralysed from the shoulders down) successfully controlled an electric wheelchair with their minds. This included navigating, steering, turning, and controlling the speed of the chair through a hospital obstacle course.


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