A new product, called “Kokoro-gatari” (Mind-talk), has been developed by Hitachi, Excel of Mechatronix, and Japan ALS Association for patients in the severest stage of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, a disease that can make patients incapable of even blinking.
But there’s one function the patients can control — blood flows in their brains.
Patients would wear a headband that emits near-infrared rays to measure the flow of blood. If they want to say “yes” to a question, they can activate the brain by calculating or singing a song mentally, which cause blood to gather in the frontal lobe.
The device would then detect the increased blood flow. When patients want to say “no”, they would just stay relaxed to keep the flow unchanged. An answer, about 80 percent correct by an average, would come in 36 seconds.
The developers hope to market the device by the end of the year in Japan