Royal Philips, Accenture eye wearable brainwave tracking platform for ALS patients

The proof-of-concept platform uses software from Royal Philips and Accenture connected to Emotiv Insight Brainware, a wearable EEG brainwave tracking device, to give ALS patients more control.



Royal Philips and Accenture showcased proof-of-concept software that connect wearable devices from bioinformatics company Emotiv, brainwaves and visual interfaces in a bid to give patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and similar diseases more freedom.

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The platform uses technology from Royal Philips with Accenture as an integration partner. Both Royal Philips and Accenture developed the software. ALS, known as Lou Gehrig Disease, affects spinal cord nerves and leads to paralysis.

Emotiv Insight Brainware is a wearable platform that scans EEG brainwaves to create a "brain computer interface." That data is connected to a tablet and allows a patient to issue brain commands to control Royal Philips products including the Lifeline Medical Alert Service, SmartTV and Hue personal lighting system. Eye and voice commands can also be used.

Wearable devices remain the gadget du jour — even though smartwatches have been disappointing so far  — but most of the innovative work with them has been with vertical applications in healthcare, transportation, manufacturing and logistics.

Companies such as Vuzix and Emotiv are playing key roles in enterprise wearable devices in addition to the widely publicized pilots with Google Glass.

According to Accenture and Royal Philips, the proof-of-concept technology could enable ALS patients to better control their environment when they lose muscle control. Even when ALS patients lose eye tracking ability they could theoretically use brain commands to control their environment through Emotiv's sensors that track electric signals of the brain.

Here's a look at how the platform works: