Cerebral Palsy
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New Assistive Technology

FuturecareFuturecare Member Posts: 16 Connected

My name is Tony Ellis,I am a professional inventor (one man band) that now develops Assistive Technology for conditions like CP, MND, MS etc.

My first AT device is MBT that allows a user to control Alexa, Google Home etc to be controlled via processing breath (no speech required). I have successfully tested MBT with a young man with CP and it worked well, but this has been the only field trial so far..

I must stress that all the AT devices are PoC (Proof of Concept) but do work. My AT work is currently self-funded from my pension - I am looking for help so I can start manufacturing and start full trials of my AT devices.

I have to hand-build everything at the moment so large scale trials (at this time) are not possible, but I could do some one-off trials to check further that the devices work satisfactory with CP people and get feedback for any improvements needed.

Here is a video of MBT controlling Alexa by breath alone (no speech required) - if this device could be made in volume, then it could possibly retail for around £100.

MBT - Full explanation video (7 minutes) -

MBT - Quick video (60 seconds) - https://youtu.be/VWXc-63GHpc

Replies

  • Richard_ScopeRichard_Scope Posts: 2,725

    Scope community team

    edited January 2020
    @Futurecare
    Your AT looks very interesting. Might I suggest also talking to our friends at Communication Matters
    Scope
    Specialist Information Officer - Cerebral Palsy

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  • FuturecareFuturecare Member Posts: 16 Connected
    @Richard_Scope
    I contacted communication matters in 2018, but they were unable to help (they suggested speaking to Simon Judge, Craig Smith Barnsley Hospital) who was also unable to help) - this is the problem, no one seems to be interested in my AT work which could help so many people, which is a sad indication of our society. Thanks for the suggestion though, I am nearing the point of giving up on my AT work, which will mean all this tech will never help the people that need it :-(
  • Richard_ScopeRichard_Scope Posts: 2,725

    Scope community team

    What about speaking to ReMap?
    Scope
    Specialist Information Officer - Cerebral Palsy

    Want to tell us about your experience on the community? Talk to our chatbot and let us know. 
  • forgoodnesssakeforgoodnesssake Member Posts: 356 Pioneering
    edited January 2020
    I feel I need to comment here as I am a current trustee of Communication Matters and  must admit that I am not aware of your previous contact with us.  However as we an AAC information and signposting charity and not a more general AT organisation; and we are tiny (!) I can see that we are probably not really the right organisation to help you. It's not lack of interest, it's lack of capacity, resources and time.  If you have had contact with Simon Judge then you have been speaking to some of the most relevant people but as Richard has suggested, how about Remap, or Meru https://meru.org.uk/ or the British Assistive Technology Association https://bataonline.org.uk/

    As a separate point, in my experience a lot of people with CP who have no speech will also have problems with breath control and so this breath technology would be very difficult for many with more complex CP involving the facial and oro-motor muscles.

  • FuturecareFuturecare Member Posts: 16 Connected
    Thank you @forgoodnesssake, I can confirm that the only trial of MBT with a CP that I was able to carry out was very successful.  My face cheek tech works with anyone capable of blinking as was the case with Stephen Hawking (MND). This is the problem no one gives my tech even a chance, they do not want even a demo! I apologise to you but your reply just shows the problem! Anyway thanks for the response, I will not give up (while I am breathing) and will hopefully show one day that my tech will help many people around our World. 
  • forgoodnesssakeforgoodnesssake Member Posts: 356 Pioneering
    edited January 2020
    I don't believe that my reply "shows the problem", rather I am explaining to you that it will not be suitable for some people, particularly some of those with significant oro-motor impairments resulting from CP. 
    As you say, Stephen Hawking did not have CP, and yes he was able to blink, however I have to re-iterate that many people with CP (I can't comment about any other condition) who cannot speak will also have issues with all facial control.  My son for example cannot blink voluntarily or control his breath at all well and so this technology would not work for him.
    However I do not doubt that it may be successful for others. 
    I am sorry you feel that no-one wants to give your tech a chance.  I have actually given you some hopefully useful links and explained that CM is not really the correct vehicle.  Good luck.
  • FuturecareFuturecare Member Posts: 16 Connected
    Thank you @forgoodnesssake for you good luck message, I appreciate that. My thoughts are, how do you know your son could not use my MBT, basically if you can breath then you would be able to use MBT as it processes the barometric pressure given out by small puffs of breath (it is totally impervious to sound). The young man I was able to trial has severe CP (little or no body movement) he cannot get past the "Alexa" keyword (even thought I can understand what he is saying). Within 10 minutes he was able to control Alexa - have you seen my video of MBT?
    https://youtu.be/6mlnRpM1eQU
    I would like to try to help your son but I cannot be sure that MBT will work with him as I have only been able to trial it once with the young CP man, but I would be very happy to try,
  • forgoodnesssakeforgoodnesssake Member Posts: 356 Pioneering
    Thank you.   Basically, my son can of course breath...but to control it in a consistent manner is very hard.  There is a thing called "intentional dyspraxia" which means that the harder he tries to do something (like blowing his nose for example) the harder it is.  However there has been quite a lot of work done on using Alexa type things with voice output communication aids (which he uses) so if he did want to use one he would go down that route.  But thank you for the offer and once again, all the best with your inventions.
  • FuturecareFuturecare Member Posts: 16 Connected
    Hi @forgoodnesssake thank you for the kind words - this forum is great as it helps me understand the conditions I want to design/develop for. I am currently working on a totally new Eye-Gaze system code named "Eye-Gaze Ultra". This device has more features than the current devices and should retail about half the price. When I get to fully operational PoC (Proof of Concept) maybe we could let your son trial it? Best Tony
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