Philips, Accenture Develop Proof of Concept Software for ALS Patients

August 5, 2014

Dutch devicemaker Royal Philips and Dublin, Ireland-based Accenture said Tuesday they have developed proof of concept software that could give more freedom to patients with ALS and other neurodegenerative diseases. The technology connects a wearable display to a tablet, allowing users’ commands to control Philips’ Lifeline medical alert service, SmartTV and Hue wireless lighting.

With the wearable display and EEG brainwave-scanning Emotiv Insight Brainware technology connected, patients can communicate preconfigured messages, request medical assistance, and control TVs and lights using brain, eye or voice commands. Patients who lose muscle control and eye tracking ability can still operate the Philips suite of products solely through brain commands, Philips said.

The Emotiv technology employs sensors to detect thoughts, feelings and expressions in real-time. The wearable display provides visual feedback that allows the wearer to navigate through the application menu, Philips said.

Patient advocacy groups welcomed the news. “We are tremendously excited about the potential for this proof of concept to give people with ALS greater independence and quality of life as we continue to actively search for a cure,” said Ineke Zaal, a spokesperson for Stichting ALS in The Netherlands.

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, impairs brain and spinal cord nerve cells, causing muscle action to decline over time. The disease affects more than 400,000 people per year worldwide, according to the International Alliance of ALS/MND Associations. — Kellen Owings

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