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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Mind-reading art: The paralysed former teacher (w/ MND) who uses technology that converts brainwaves into paintings

  • Heide Pfützner was paralysed by a form of motor neuron disease
  • She has now created a series of paintings using new technology
  • Reads changes in brainwaves allowing users to choose between colours, shapes and tools

  • When Heide Pfützner was paralysed by a form of motor neuron disease it seemed that she would never paint again.
    But now, new technology has allowed the former teacher to produce a series of artworks using only her thoughts.
    The mother-of-four has mastered technology that allows her to paint pictured using the signals that come from her brain..
    Happy: Heide Pfützner has been using technology that reads her brainwaves to create artworks on a computer
    Happy: Heide Pfützner has been using technology that reads her brainwaves to create artworks on a computer

    Abstract: Heide is given the opportunity to create colourful paintings with the new technology
    Abstract: Heide is given the opportunity to create colourful paintings with the new technology
    Her thoughts control the colours, shapes and brushes she uses as the computer translates the tiny impulses to form pictures, reports the Sunday Telegraph
    Now, the artist is set to exhibit her work in Easdale, near Oban in Scotland.
    Ms Pfützner, who has Lou Gehrig’s disease in 2007, said: ‘I had never been fond of technical equipment, and despised working with a computer.

    ‘Brain-computer interface is a breakthrough technology that enables me with my thoughts to create art. Concentration and thoughts create expressive images. For the first time, this project gives me the opportunity to show the world that the disease has not been the end of my life.’
    Ms Pfützner is only able to move her eyes after being left paralysed by the disease and now sells her colourful paintings online.
    Amazing: The computer captures Heide's thoughts, allowing her to manipulate shapes and colour
    Amazing: The computer captures Heide's thoughts, allowing her to manipulate shapes and colour
    Development: Heide describes the system as allowing her to get back into painting after her paralysis
    Development: Heide describes the system as allowing her to get back into painting after her paralysis

    Technology: The system was developed after scientists were studying how to allow people to use social media
    Technology: The system was developed after scientists were studying how to allow people to use social media

    Creating shapes: Heide uses the computer screen to create her art. She now sells it online
    Creating shapes: Heide uses the computer screen to create her art. She now sells it online

    Electrodes are embedded in a cap that the user wears, and detects what options they want to choose.
    In future, the electrodes would be implanted into the cortex of the brain to increase the effectiveness of the process.
    The technology could also be used to give people who are paralyzed the opportunity to communicate.
    It detects changes in brainwave patterns, showing what the user wants to do.
    But researchers are now looking to plant a device into the brain to allow computers to connect with the user directly.
    Technology: Heide is fitted with the cap as begins her drawings
    Technology: Heide is fitted with the cap as begins her drawings

    Reading: The electrodes are embedded into the cap and read the changes in Heide's brainwaves
    Reading: The electrodes are embedded into the cap and read the changes in Heide's brainwaves
    The future: Scientists hope that the technology can be embedded in user's brains to make the experience easier and more accurate
    The future: Scientists hope that the technology can be embedded in user's brains to make the experience easier and more accurate



    Dr Christoph Guger said the technology has come a long way: ‘Ten years ago we needed a whole week of training to get enough data for it to work accurately, but now we need just five minutes or less.’
    The device comes from studies on how to allow patients to use social media such as Facebook or Twitter more effectively, but he describes painting as a more creative form of expression.
    The scientists are working with researchers in Japan to develop the brain implant technology.



    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2331769/Mind-reading-art-The-paralysed-teacher-uses-technology-converts-brainwaves-paintings.html#ixzz2UanovFBx
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