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A Wearable Sensor to Help ALS Patients Communicate

By MIT News

October 28, 2020

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A stretchable, skin-like device developed by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology could help people with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) communicate through small movements.

The device, made of four piezoelectric sensors embedded in a thin silicone film, can be attached to the wearer's face. The sensors convert the mechanical deformation of the skin into measurable electric voltage.

A test of the initial version of the device on two ALS patients, using a machine-learning algorithm that could distinguish a smile, an open mouth, and pursed lips with 75% accuracy, compared with 87% on healthy subjects.

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