Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) is a disease which can begin from a small part of the body like a finger of the hand and start spreading to other parts. The muscle movement of such patients deteriorates continuously affecting the entire body. Hence gradually the patient loses the ability to talk and move. The last preserved movement in these cases is eyebrow movement.
The idea is to design a medical product that can assist such patients to communicate with the outer world to meet their daily needs. Eyebrow Communication is designed to facilitate the patient to communicate. Easy Talk is a low cost device with which the patients can express their needs and call at the time of help.
The design of a Eyebrow Communication is used to communicate by picking up the electrical activity in eyebrow muscle through EMG Surface electrodes and giving it as click to the Easy Talk through which the person can commsnicate his needs. The version 1 of this design has the output through a software named “Handi Talk” installed in a netbook/laptop. In Developing Countries, Laptops and Netbooks are not affordable. Easy Talk is the solution which can affordable by any person in the Country. This design is useful for ALS patients.
Eyebrow Sensing Module: The surface EMG electrodes are placed on the eyebrow muscles. The movement of muscles is captured by the electrodes and transmitted to the circuit. The signal has minute amplitude (in mV or ?V) and is not in a usable form. It is amplified with 10,000 gains in first level and 20,000 gains in second level. The amplified signal is filtered using an active low pass filter to attenuate the high frequency noise that comes from subcutaneous muscle movements. Then by using a comparator and relay circuit, a switching control signal is generated. This signal is sent as an input to a Relay and the signal sent to netbook through a USB connecting wire.
Easy Talk: The Easy Talk contains the icons and LED’S above the icons. The LED’s blinks from one icon to another and when the icon is to be clicked, the eyebrow should be raised. It records and plays up to 42 messages. Simply slide in the interchangeable picture icons to enhance expressive and receptive language. The bottom right switch is the level changer with a level announcing message. Device has 300 seconds of total record time and stores up to 48- six second messages including the level announcing records. It can also used by a non-verbal person without the Eyebrow Sensing Module.
Future Development: In future Improvement of necessary software like Handi talk in the version 1, Easy Talk can be replaced with a tablet PC which can be made more portable and easy to access, where the person can play games, listen to music, home automation, send e-mails etc.