Students Receive IEEE Grant to Build Ride-On Cars for Kids With Disabilities

These customized toys help children explore the world around them

3 min read
Several IEEE-HKN people standing around a battery powered car with a child behind the wheel.
Photo: Nipuna Mihiranga Gomes

THE INSTITUTEThe Epsilon Xi Chapter of IEEE Eta Kappa Nu (IEEE-HKN) at Wichita State University, in Kansas, set out last March to build 17 customized battery-powered toy cars for local children with special needs. Thanks to a US $10,000 grant from Engineering Projects in Community Service (EPICS) in IEEE, the honor society students are only four cars away from reaching their goal.

EPICS in IEEE is funded by donations to the IEEE Foundation, the organization's philanthropic arm. The program has awarded nearly $525,000 in grants to more than 100 projects to date.

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This Implant Turns Brain Waves Into Words

A brain-computer interface deciphers commands intended for the vocal tract

10 min read
A man using an interface, looking at a screen with words on it.

A paralyzed man who hasn’t spoken in 15 years uses a brain-computer interface that decodes his intended speech, one word at a time.

University of California, San Francisco
Blue

A computer screen shows the question “Would you like some water?” Underneath, three dots blink, followed by words that appear, one at a time: “No I am not thirsty.”

It was brain activity that made those words materialize—the brain of a man who has not spoken for more than 15 years, ever since a stroke damaged the connection between his brain and the rest of his body, leaving him mostly paralyzed. He has used many other technologies to communicate; most recently, he used a pointer attached to his baseball cap to tap out words on a touchscreen, a method that was effective but slow. He volunteered for my research group’s clinical trial at the University of California, San Francisco in hopes of pioneering a faster method. So far, he has used the brain-to-text system only during research sessions, but he wants to help develop the technology into something that people like himself could use in their everyday lives.

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