Wearables with a purpose build a mind-controlled wheelchair

Wong might some day be able to move his wheelchair using the power of his thoughts. The idea is for the community to leverage the Emotiv neuro-technology to build exciting new applications.

At the age of six, Albert Wong was diagnosed with a condition called Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. Doctors predicted that he would be wheelchair bound by the age of 10, though he went on to earn straight A grades and a law school scholarship.

Now in his twenties, the Malaysian law graduate is largely bed-bound and his muscles are steadily deteriorating. According to his mother, Swee Peng Yap, his hand is too weak to control the joystick of his wheelchair controller.

Emotiv is a San Francisco-based company with a headset capable of picking up electrical signals from user’s brains and translating them into actions.

The goal is to build a headset for Wong to help him control his wheelchair and communicate better using a combination of mental commands, facial expressions, and head movement.

The goal is to build a headset for Wong to help him control his wheelchair and communicate better using a combination of mental commands, facial expressions, and head movement.


“Emotiv’s technology has been utilized to help people with limited mobility regain some control of their surroundings, increase ease of communication and improve overall quality of life,” said Emotiv developer relations lead Joyce Golomb in an interview. “We are eager to help Albert and would like to tap into our community.”

“Brain controlled wheelchairs are low-hanging fruit — it’s 100 percent the future for wearables,” said Redg Snodgrass, founder of a media and events startup called Wearable World. “The next step will be to gather data. The more use-cases, tests, and projects we do, the better we will get at building creating products to help people with various disabilities.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>