Hatfield university researchers develop new tool

RESEARCHERS at the University of Hertfordshire are developing a new tool to measure brain waves in children suffering from physical and neurological impairments.

Hock Gan, a PhD student at the Hatfield-based university's school of computer science, is working with Ian Glasscock at Games for Life to use an electroencephalography (EEG) headset to assess cognitive ability in children who suffer from conditions such as cerebral palsy.

Ian Glasscock said: “Children with severe physical and neurological impairments, for example, with very restricted movement and no speech resulting from cerebral palsy, cannot be assessed by conventional tests of ability.

“As a consequence, many of these children’s abilities go unrecorded or under-estimated. A computer-based tool could revolutionise the way assessment and learning is undertaken with this group.”

Just six months into the three and a half year project, the researchers have used different wireless electrode headsets which make it a simpler kit than historical brain sensing technology.

Hock Gan added: “There are two parts to this project, first we need to persuade these children to use the technology using brain waves and find a way to enable them to control the computer without moving.

"There may be a way that they can do this by simply using a gesture like a smile to control the switch.

“Children will benefit through enhanced learning; clinical professionals through having a more accurate assessment tool, and parents will have reduced stress levels and a better quality of life with their children.”

The new tool is featured on You Tube today at: http://www.youtube.com/user/UNIofHERTFORDSHIRE#p/u/0/FokRiAXD-eA

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