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Jul 30, 2010

Sniff-activated sensor may return active lifestyles to paralyzed and disabled

Disabled persons, quadriplegics and others suffering from paralysis may be able to regain movement with a sniff-activated sensor, according to a study by Israeli researchers.

The technology works by translating changes in nasal air pressure into electrical signals that are passed to a computer. Patients can sniff in certain patterns to select letters or numbers to compose text, or on the computer, to control the mouse. For getting around, sniffing controls the direction of the wheelchair, Bloomberg reports.

Quadriplegic patients were able to use the device to navigate wheelchairs as well as healthy people. Two participants who were completely paralyzed but with intact mental function used the technology to communicate by choosing letters on a computer screen to write. The study appears in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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