Category Archives: Assistive Technology

Message Banking Technology Helps ALS Patients Regain Their Voice

Julia and service dog Sophie
Message banking can help people with ALS get their personalized voice back.

People with ALS and other degenerative diseases may lose their ability to speak over time, but today’s technology can give them a voice. Most of the speech technology we see has a robotic voice. What if ALS patients could get their own, personalized voice back? Thanks to message banking, they can.

Message Banking is Created

“25 years ago, one of the nurses who ran our tracheotomy program came to us and said there are kids who wake up in the ICU after surgery who are absolutely terrified and they can’t communicate,” John Costello, the creator of message banking and Director of Boston Children’s Hospital’s Augmentative Communication Program, said. “We then began to look and say, why are we waiting until a patient is at bedside and under the influence of medication, pain, sedation and fear to try to help? I thought it would be really cool if kids could record their voices pre-operatively so that post-op they could wake up with technology mounted on their bed and have their own voice.” Read more

Hands Free Prototype Wheelchair Moves by Leaning Forward or Side-to-Side

ogo-wheelchair-photos

Wheelchair of the Future?

After four years of research and development, Kevin Halsall has finally unveiled his incredible new invention. The New Zealand native has created a hands free prototype wheelchair for his friend Marcus Thompson, who was paralyzed after a skiing accident. The OGO is a mix of a wheelchair and a Segway that balances on two wheels, adjusting and moving as the person sitting in the chair leans forward, backward, or side to side. Halsall, who is an engineer by trade, purchased a Segway, disassembled the device and then reconstructed it around a wheelchair. Read more