Posted by iheni on April 16, 2007
Three weeks ago I went to CSUN, a technology conference for people with disabilities. It’s the biggest conference of it’s kind and has people from all over the world giving presentations on access technologies as well as showcasing hardware and software.
While at the conference I met a gentleman called Andrew Junker who created a software called Brainfingers. Using the software you can us a PC to play games, email, browse the web, anything. You wear a Cyberlink headband which detects electrical signals from your facial muscles, eye movements, and brainwaves. The Brainfingers software decodes these signals into virtual fingers which trigger mouse and keyboard events to control everything that’s happening on your screen.
I had a go and it was a complete trip to use. With the strap around my head linked up to the PC I was able to play games and music with a virtual keyboard by simply raising an eyebrow, clenching my jaw or smiling. The smallest movement or expression gets translated on screen.
Cyberlink is designed to be used by a broad range of people with disabilities; from minor to severe. Even people with minimal ability to control facial muscles can usually learn how to map “clicks” to a number of special controls.
View a video of Brainfingers as seen on the Discovery Channel program “KAPOW! Superhero Science. The video is around 3 minutes long and there are low and high bandwidth versions available in Windows Media Format and MPEG format.