New Assistive Communication Tech Promises Faster Speed and Less Fatigue for ALS

The NeuroNode Trilogy provides three access methods in a single funding accessible solution for degenerative conditions.

MILFORD, OH – Feb.5, 2019 – Control Bionics Launches a new AAC package, the NeuroNode Trilogy, that significantly reduces user fatigue and increases speed for severely disabled people with conditions like ALS/MND, SCI, SMA, and Cerebral Palsy.

Building on their successful NeuroNode EMG Technology, Control Bionics has now combined their latest NeuroNode device, NeuroNode 3.0, with Eye Control and Grid 3 communication software from Smartbox.

Users can now completely eliminate the need for dwell or blink activation while utilizing eye control to access their communication device, a major source of frustration and fatigue with traditional eye control systems. Instead of activating with dwell or blink when using eye-control, users now simply use the NeuroNode 3.0 to select items on the page to generate speech, control their environment, and communicate with the outside world. The result of this combination is significantly reduced fatigue and increased communication output speed.

Rob Wong, CEO of Control Bionics, says, “By combining the new NeuroNode 3.0 technology with eye control and Grid 3, users have the widest possible communication options available in the USA – all in one funding package. All of this combined –priced under $17,000– is going to give potential clients access to a solution never before available. They now have the Power of 3!”

According to Emily Boland, NeuroNode Product Director, “This is a whole new offering to those in need. As a company that strives to be client facing, we feel that we’ve provided a unique solution for those with degenerative conditions. The NeuroNode Trilogy System provides access that changes alongside the client’s needs – with a consistent communication platform. One learning curve, onetime funding application and a solution that lasts a lifetime.”

The NeuroNode is a wireless, wearable AAC device that non-invasively captures the body’s own electrical signals. These signals, generated by minute muscle movements, can be detected even when there is no visible muscle movement, allowing a locked-in user to control a computer with incredible accuracy, and to speak, email, socialize, be entertained, and to control their environment.

While the NeuroNode 3.0 itself provides a powerful alternative access method solution, the new NeuroNode Trilogy System with communication software and eye control has many clinicians heralding it as a game changer for degenerative conditions. The latest NeuroNode 3.0 device is packed with added benefits, including: a smaller, lighter, and more durable design; a 24-hour battery life with hassle-free charging; and a new non-adhesive wearable solution.

NeuroNode Sales Director Meagan Koeneman says, “Having worked for many years selling eye-control units with the market-leading company, I am so pleased to be able to offer clients the NeuroNode Trilogy system as the new standard. It’s so much easier to use and gives clinicians options if and as conditions change for their clients”

The NeuroNode Trilogy was launched at the end of January at the ATIA (Assistive Technology Industry Association) conference in Orlando, Florida. Control Bionics’ funding options are continuously expanding and they’re proud to currently offer funding through Medicare, Medicaid, the Veterans Health Administration, as well as various Education Systems.

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.

Medicare Approves Life-Changing Technology for People with Disabilities The NeuroNode provides a new solution for those with ALS/MND, Cerebral Palsy and more

The NeuroNode provides a new solution for those with ALS/MND, Cerebral Palsy and more.

Milford, Ohio, October 26, 2018 —  Control Bionics’ NeuroNode, a revolutionary life-altering assistive technology product, is universally available for people with disabilities. Control Bionics released the NeuroNode in January of 2017 at the ATIA (Assistive Technology Industry Association) in Orlando, Florida. The NeuroNode is the most advanced, versatile, wireless communication and control device on market. As the company prepares for their new product release at this year’s conference, rest-assured – it will be life-changing!

The NeuroNode is a small, wireless, wearable device that detects the body’s electromyography (EMG) signals. EMG is a measurement of electrical activity associated with the activation of a muscle group detected by non-invasive, adhesive electrodes on the surface of the skin. The NeuroNode is an alternative and augmentative communication device that provides individuals with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and Motor Neurone Disease (ALS/MND), spinal cord injuries, cerebral palsy, and other conditions that result in paralysis and speech loss the opportunity to regain communication and independence.

The NeuroNode is being used to educate students with severe disabilities, to employ individuals with severe disabilities, and to rehabilitate patients after traumatic events. From VA hospitals in the Midwest to classrooms on the East Coast, the NeuroNode is proving to be a revolutionary, life-changing technology. “The NeuroNode is the most advanced technology I have ever seen to provide functional communication for people with Locked-In Syndrome and other communication challenges,” explains Mary Caitlin Smith, a speech-language pathologist based in Kansas, “I am beyond thrilled to hear that Medicare coverage is available. A total game changer for those who need this incredible technology.”

So, how does the NeuroNode work? EMG signals are generated in the body when an individual activates or attempts to activate, a particular muscle group. When you think about scrolling a mouse down the page or picking up a piece of paper – your body does not consciously move each and every muscle group; it’s immediate and automatic. You think of the intent – and your body responds. This is in thanks to those EMG signals, sent instantly from the brain to the various muscle groups throughout the body. The NeuroNode device sits on the surface of the skin, above a chosen muscle group, and reads your body’s EMG signals – turning those signals into a means of controlling a computer, tablet, or mobile device.

With the NeuroNode, users with paralysis and loss of speech can communicate with friends, family members, caregivers and their clinicians; send and receive text messages and control their environment. With Control Bionics Say-It NOW application, users can even interact with their in-home smart speaker systems entirely hands-and-voice-free. This gives NeuroNode users unprecedented access to this popular technology – whether it’s to communicate and alert loved ones in a home setting or to allow Google to settle a bet between friends on-the-go.

Funding for AT products can be difficult to obtain. Recently Medicare approved funding for the NeuroNode. “The process for obtaining funding for a speech generative device (SGD) that provides augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) like the NeuroNode can be incredibly overwhelming for individuals, family members, and health care providers,” explains Control Bionics CEO, Rob Wong. The Control Bionics funding team provides support throughout the process, helping those in need to navigate the path to obtaining durable medical equipment (DME). “We’re incredibly excited to announce this additional funding option. Our goal and mantra is ‘life-changing connections,’ and this new resource provides us with the ability to facilitate even more of those moments,” states Wong.

The founders of Control Bionics have been working with EMG technology for over two decades. The company’s goal is to become the world’s leading provider of EMGs wearable bionic devices. In the early 2000s, Control Bionics worked with the late Stephen Hawking to develop –what would become– their latest assistive EMG device. In April of this year, Control Bionics was awarded the prestigious [email protected] Innovation Award ahead of 42 competing commonwealth nations. Organized by the Duke of York and held at St. James Place, London, this year’s theme was “Human Technology – Benefits for Humanity,” an endeavor that certainly rings true for those familiar with the NeuroNode technology.

For information regarding Control Bionics, the NeuroNode, or Say-It Now contact Emily Boland at 1-513-453-4848 or [email protected]

 

Ok Google – Everyone Can Say It Now!

Control Bionics will be launching a revolutionary wireless, wearable EMG device complete with hands-free, voice-free Google Assistant control for the disabled population at the Closing the Gap Conference.

MILFORD, OHIO – Sept. 26, 2018 – Control Bionics announces the launch of Say-It NOW, a new application that will allow individuals living with speech and motor disorders to interact with a Google Assistant through the NeuroNode. From September 26th through 28th, Control Bionics will be presenting this information at the Closing the Gap Conference.

The NeuroNode uses EMG technology as its form of connection to the human brain. Small and non-invasive, this sensor is used as a switch to control electronics devices. Minimal movement, or intention of movement, beneath the NeuroNode sensor allows for a “click” on a computer screen, tablet, or mobile device. This augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) and control device has proven to be incredibly promising due to the versatility and adaptability offered to its users. With the idea that connections can be life-changing, the NeuroNode is working towards bringing assistive technology into the current trends of home automation and smart speaker control.

The application Say-It NOW allows non-verbal and physically impaired individuals to broadcast their voice and have their questions answered through Google Assist. In its simplest mode, Say-It NOW includes customizable and predetermined phrases, such as “I am cold” or “hello”, that the user can then select to be projected over a single or in-home network of smart speakers, allowing for previously impossible versatility for full-time caretakers. By placing the speakers throughout a home, office, or classroom setting, caregivers can be in a separate room, but still determine if their loved ones need assistance. In addition to the broadcasting feature, Say-It NOW makes it possible for its users to stay up on sports, news and weather through their Google Assistant, in the same way that able-bodied individuals do, using voiceless commands, unaffected by physical abilities.

In a world of ever-evolving technology, Control Bionics is bringing a sense of normality and inclusivity to those living with paralysis and loss of speech. Striving to create devices to help close the gap for those living with a disability, the NeuroNode and Say-It NOW are steps into twenty-first century assistive technology.

About Control Bionics

Founded in 2006, Control Bionics has established its presence in the world of assistive technology devices. The company’s founders initially set out to create a reliable switch for users that found all other solutions ineffective, fatiguing, and limiting to their needs. Control Bionics gained recognition in the AT field by winning the National Disability Award in 2015 for Excellence in Accessible Technology. As of April 2018, Control Bionics continued their voyage to the top of the assistive technology field with their impressive Prince Andrew Pitch at Palace Innovation Award. Over the last 12 years, Control Bionics has dedicated their time to expanding life-changing connections for the disabled community. Please visit https://www.controlbionics.com to stay up to date with their unique and exciting devices.

About NeuroNode

In 2016, Control Bionics launched the NeuroNode. Designed as a resource for individuals living with paralysis and loss of speech, the NeuroNode is the world’s first wearable and wireless EMG assistive communication and control device. The small, non-invasive device uses the body’s EMG signals as a switch to control the user’s computer, tablet, or mobile phone. The NeuroNode allows those living with conditions such as SCI (spinal cord injury), ALS/MND, SMA (spinal muscular atrophy), and CP (cerebral palsy) to find their voice and reconnect with the world around them.

Tired of Eye Gazing? Meet NeuroNode.

Enabling communication for people living with paralysis or loss of speech is our mission here at Control Bionics. While we have developed a truly innovative way to do this, our greatest reward is returning the joy of communication to patients who have lost their ability to communicate.

Anything that returns dignity and some feeling of normalcy to people who suffer from an inability to communicate is amazing. For years, eye gaze (also known as “eye tracking”) has been the prevailing technology used to enable this type of communication.

In its simplest form, eye gaze determines where someone is looking by using cameras to take pictures of one or both eyes. Those images are then processed and analyzed to determine the gaze location. There are applications of this type of technology beyond helping people communicate, and eye gaze is used extensively in research and user-feedback testing.

Eye gaze is a passive input mechanism – meaning eyes are better at reading and scanning then they are at clicking a button or initiating a keystroke on a keyboard. Due to its reliance on cameras, extensive calibration of the system per patient is needed both for set up and on an ongoing basis, as even small changes in the person’s position or room lighting can affect system performance. It also relies on the eyes as the primary input mechanism. If the eyes are not functioning properly or just become fatigued or dry, as happens in many ALS patients, system performance suffers disrupting communication.

We’ve been hard at work over the past 10+ years perfecting an approach that doesn’t rely on eye gaze technology and instead uses the body’s brain-to-muscle communication to give patients the ability to communicate again. This can be as simple as raising your eyebrows because we are measuring and recording the electric voltage sent by the brain to a muscle.

We do this via electromyography (or “EMG”). EMG can detect the faintest signals the brain sends the muscle and adapts as the body changes, removing the need for constant recalibration. Communication is active and EMG taps into the actions the body is taking and channels that to let a patient type words to share in an email or text message or to play out loud to give them back a voice to communicate with family and loved ones. Our users tell us that communication with the NeuroSwitch becomes second-nature, rather than a tiring chore.

And, unlike eye gaze technology, the NeuroNode works if you are on a ventilator. People who would benefit from a ventilator often delay or decline the procedure because they are afraid of losing the ability to communicate. With NeuroNode, you don’t have to choose between breathing well and communicating. You can do both.

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