Paralyzed Walk In Second Life

A disabled person can now stroll through Second Life thanks to research work led by Junichi Ushiba of the faculty of Science and Technology of Keio University.


(Paralyzed student walks in Second Life)

Here's the description of the research demonstration:

The system uses electrodes as small as 1cm in diameter that are attached to the scalp. A computer detects brainwaves from the sensory-motor cortex when the subject slightly moves fingers of his/her right and left hand, and moves the avatar accordingly. The computer also detects the subjectís will to move forward, and makes the avatar move forward. The system released last year used a desktop computer, but the new system uses a portable electroencephalograph commercially available, and made it possible to bring the system to the subjectís home.

I remember seeing this pictured in Star Trek in about 1967. In The Menagerie, Christoper Pike is burned and completely paralyzed; he is trapped in his wheelchair.


(Christoper Pike's Star Trek thought-controlled wheelchair)

However, at the end of the episode, he returns to Talos IV, to live out the rest of his life where the inhabitants could use their mental powers to allow him to live out a life of illusion in which he could walk freely.


(Christopher Pike walks in virtual reality)

It looks like this science-fictional dream is close to becoming a reality for people who are confined to beds and wheelchairs.

Via MedGadget.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 6/18/2008)

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