The Brain Project
The Cedar Foundation is working on the ‘BRAIN’ project alongside The University of Ulster’s Computer Science Research Institute as well as academic and commercial partners across Europe. The aim of the project is to enable people who have disability such as cerebral palsy, brain or spinal injuries to communicate using the power of thought and computer technology.
The project’s focus is on upgrading current BCI (Brain-Computer Interface) systems, which provide a direct communication pathway between brain signals and external devices. With the use of this technology, disabled people will be able to operate computers by the power of thought alone as well as control a number of domestic appliances such as television, doors and lights.
“BRAIN stands for BCIs with Rapid Automated Interfaces for Nonexperts,” explained Dr Paul McCullagh from the Computer Science Research Institute. “There are some very debilitating diseases like Lou Gehris’s disease where people are ‘locked in’. They can think clearly but cannot communicate. These people have little or no opportunity to interact with loved ones, carers, home appliances or personal computer. But this technology could change that and eventually it will be available to the wider population.”
The Cedar Foundation is involved in the three-year project and some of its service users are interested in being involved in the research to help with the design and to test out the new equipment.