High Tech Innovations: Cerebral Palsy


Everyone knows that advances in technology happen every day. Whether it’s the newest iPhone model or high-resolution television, something unique and exciting seems right around the corner.  But exciting technological advances are not limited to phone or television products – there are plenty of pioneering breakthroughs happening right now that aim to benefit those with Cerebral Palsy! Here are just three examples of high tech iinnovations that can impact future generations living with Cerebral Palsy to get you up to speed on what the buzz is about:

  • The Robotic Crawler: Researchers at the University of Oklahoma built a machine that can help two-to-eight-month-old babies who are at risk for Cerebral Palsy learn to crawl by aiding in their development of motor and cognitive skills.  Through mounted cameras and an EEG cap, the machine can interpret data in real time that a baby sends by trying to crawl, offering robotic assistance when and where needed.  This high-tech machine, besides looking cool, could be a real difference maker for developing babies who need a little extra help.  While the machine is still in its testing stages, researchers are hard at work to finalize it as soon as possible.
  • The Eye Gaze: Think of the Eye Gaze as an oversized hands-free tablet device that allows someone to communicate, perform tasks, and more just by using their eyes.  This can be extremely beneficial for those who have challenges moving and for those who are non-verbal.  The Eye Gaze is so exciting because it can offer a form of independence to users by utilizing its wide-ranging programs designed for anything from completing school assignments, to turning on the television, to saying “I love you.”  And the user is able to make all of her choices by using her eyes!  An invisible laser scans the user’s eyes to detect where she’s looking – nothing is attached or connected to her body.  To ‘press’ a key presented on the screen, the user simply looks at it for a predetermined amount of time.  The possibilities are truly endless with this enabling and empowering device!
  • Brain Imaging Cap:  This is no ordinary cap.  This cap allows research participants a more accessible, less stressful way to give important brain activity data to researchers.  The conventional method of brain imaging is to lay still in an MRI scanner, but this new cap can be put on easily while sitting down, walking, or even performing tasks in real time to record task-specific brain activity.  The cap is made of probes that emit light, and detectors that measure how much light is reflected back after passing through the skull and brain.  The reflected light tells researchers how much blood is in a given area of the brain and how active brain tissue is during a specific task.  This information can ultimately be used to more accurately help those who benefit from stimulation to assist muscles in performing various activities.  The cap may also open up new avenues of research that could yield even more benefits for those with Cerebral Palsy!

The Robotic Crawler, the Eye Gaze, and the Brain Imaging Cap are just three advances in technology geared toward improving the lives of those with Cerebral Palsy. We’d like to know if we missed any exciting gadgets or technology, so please share any with us!