Monday, 04 Apr, 2011 Science

Paralyzed Woman Used Her Power of Mind to Conduct an Orchestra


An anonymous British woman, who became paralyzed after suffering a stroke and was diagnosed with locked-in syndrome, managed to conduct an orchestra only with her mind.

The woman, who is aware of the surroundings, but cannot communicate due to paralyzed muscles, decided to take scientists' proposal to take part in the experiment.

The woman wore a special cap equipped with electrodes. The latter were used to capture different patterns in the woman's brainwaves. Using the system the woman was able to play different instruments on a computer with her power of mind.

According to Dr Palani Ramaswamy, of the University of Essex's School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering, the woman really enjoyed the experiment that made her "feel back in control again for the first time since her stroke."

To be able to develop the special computer system for the experiment, scientists in Essex decided to team up with a group of researchers from the University of Plymouth. Their system is meant to help disabled people communicate more easily.

During the experiment the woman looked at images shown on a computer screen. The images flashed at different frequencies, thus generating different brain patterns. By looking at the screen she was able to select the instrument she wanted to play and the frequency images helped her play different notes.

"What made this trial so innovative was that the intensity of how she was looking at the screen in terms of concentration, offered even more control and, in this case, more notes for each instrument," mentioned Ramaswamy.

The researcher added that after using the system for a couple of hours, the woman was able to conduct a small orchestra. It is worth mentioning that the experiment was performed in London and the system was for the first time tested on a disabled person, reports Times Of India.

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