Description of video above: Paraplegic patient navigates through a virtual world using a brain-computer interface with 90% accuracy.

paraple.jpgTwo teams that met at a European consortium called PRESCENCCIA are teaming up to create a virtual world where users may navigate through a virtual environment using their mind. The team from Graz University of Technology in Austria, specializes in measuring signals from the brain through electrodes. The other team, from the University of College London (UCL), UK builds virtual reality worlds [NewScientistTech].

In a recent study, users guided an avatar (virtual reality figure) through a virtual environment using direct thought. EEG recordings were recorded as the users imagined moving his legs and arms. The readings were then linked to visuals presented on the computer monitor. 75%-90% of users in the virtual reality world were able to use thoughts associated with movement to walk an avatar through the environment while waving to other virtual characters.

This research may prove to be a means for patients with severe neuromuscular disorders to communicate as well as provide a possible tool as rehabilitation for stroke patients. Perhaps one day this technology may link patients to “exo-skeletons” and allow them to perform regular tasks through direct thoughts.