NYC Department of Education: NeuroNode in the Classroom

Successful NeuroNode Performance Trial with Maeve, a 3rd Grade Student with Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA), Leads to Acquisition of seven NeuroNodes by NYC DOE’s Center for Assistive Technology (CAT) for students in the New York City Education System.
(Video News Release (VNR) Available for Free Download from WebAble.TV)

NEW YORK, NY – Dec.12, 2018 – The New York City Department of Education’s Center for Assistive Technology (CAT) recently acquired innovative new technology known as the ‘NeuroNode’, that offers an access solution for students with severe physical limitations and paralysis.

After seeing Control Bionics’ NeuroNode device demonstrated at the January 2018 Assistive Technology Industry Association (ATIA) Conference in Orlando, CAT arranged for a NeuroNode assessment for one New York City 3rd grade student, Maeve, with Spinal Muscular Atrophy or SMA.

The NeuroNode is the world’s first wireless, wearable electromyography or EMG assistive technology device that non-invasively detects the electrical activity of a muscle to automatically communicate with and control a full spectrum of external devices and platforms.

Maeve had such great success with the NeuroNode that she immediately began her trial. Within a few short weeks, the NeuroNode was implemented into Maeve’s daily school activities.

“When we saw NeuroNode, a light bulb went off in my head,” said Lindsey Huntley, Speech Supervisor for CAT. “I reached out to the District Office, the Principal, and said we have this brand new technology, we think it’s a game changer, can we come in? And we did. Maeve just took off, it was like it brought tears to everybody’s eyes in the room…just how fast she took to the technology, how it opened possibilities for everything.” Huntley added, “This device is giving her total independence.”

Communicating with the NeuroNode for the first time, Maeve stated, “I want a baby sister and a puppy.”

“The NeuroNode is different just because its so much easier in terms of management and adjusting than her previous technology,” remarked Maya Pariser, Maeve’s 3rd Grade teacher. “Using the NeuroNode, it’s kind of when she’s set up to go, she goes.” Pariser added, “The NeuroNode has made teaching easier just because it allows Maeve to be a lot more independent and it also allows the variety of materials to appear on her iPad that she needs throughout the day.”

“I think our reaction when we first saw Maeve using the NeuroNode was, ‘Wow, this is amazing’,” commented Maeve’s father, Frank. “I think the sky’s the limit…educationally there are no limits to her”. Maeve’s Parents are excited about the opportunities that are now open to Maeve because of the NeuroNode.

Following Maeve’s successful trial, both CAT and District 75 purchased a combined seven NeuroNode units.

In September of 2018, over 110 clinicians from CAT and District 75 participated in a full day Control Bionics NeuroNode training course to educate and prepare these clinicians for assessing and supporting their students in the use of the NeuroNode. Since then, Control Bionics has facilitated other assessments for students with an array of conditions limiting their access to education in Educational Systems across the US. This effort coincides with Control Bionics release of their text-to-speech software, Say-It NOW. Say-It NOW allows a NeuroNode user with paralysis and loss of speech to interact with their smart speaker, hands-free and voice free as the company stays committed to continued R&D to aid the special community of people with disabilities.

A Video News Release (VNR) featuring this story with interviews was produced by WebAble.TV, a Subsidiary of TV Worldwide and is available as a for viewing and embedding as a streaming video link by clicking here, and for full download and unlimited use by any interested press outlet or media entity by clicking here.


Kristin Harley: Communicating in the ICU with NeuroNode

Kristin Harley, diagnosed with motor neurone disease in early 2013, makes the tough choice to have a tracheostomy. While she has been using the NeuroNode at home for the past several months to control text, text-to-speech, emails, and more – she now needs it as she recovers from surgery in the ICU at Macquarie University.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – Dec.3, 2018 – Dr. Kirsten Harley made the toughest decision of her life late last month: diagnosed with motor neuron disease (ALS/MND) in early 2013, she faced complete quadriplegia and dangerously deteriorating ability to breathe, with enormous courage, humour and a prevailing will to live as long as possible with her dearly loved husband Densil and daughter Kim.

Her choices were stark: to continue to live relying for breath on a BiPAP mask, but risk dying in her sleep; or have a tracheostomy that preserved her voice but involved increased risk of choking, aspiration and pneumonia; or to have a tracheostomy and laryngectomy that enabled her to breathe and swallow safely, but lose her voice.

She settled on the latter: choosing to savour every moment with Densil and Kim, her extended family, and a widening circle of friends.

She had been communicating for some time with NeuroNode, controlling text, text-to-speech, emails, programs and her exceptionally eloquent and honest Facebook log, controlled through a small sensor on her wrist.

Now, following her surgery in the last week of November, she writes, “I won’t have to be left in an uncomfortable position, or needing my weebag emptied or to be put on the bedpan, helplessly waiting for a nurse to notice and interpret my silent cry. I will be able to tell my family that I love them. And I will be able to keep sharing my experience of living with MND, developing my role as an MND advocate, raising awareness that is essential for attracting funding to support people living with, and research towards a cure for, this arsehole-with-haemorrhoids of a disease.”

We provide 24/7 support for all NeuroNode users, and since Kirsten’s surgery, have added some neat apps she can launch on her iPhone: one enables her to select a Shortcuts icon with NeuroNode and Switch Control which immediately rings the phone on the Nursing Station in the Intensive Care Unit at Macquarie University Hospital where Kirsten is recovering.

Another sends a text message to the ICU Head Nurse’s cell phone asking for assistance.

“This means we can respond in seconds,” a senior nurse says, “instead of minutes… and that is critical.  This is a game-changing invention.” 
Kirsten’s exceptional grace and courage, and her eloquent postings, written with NeuroNode, are helping develop even more applications for everyone else with ALS/MND and other profoundly disabling conditions.

We are humbled by her courage and inspired to be able to work with her, and everyone like her, around the world.