Lunch Lecture: Unlocking People With Locked-In Syndrome

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In rare cases, stroke, ALS or a spinal cord injury can cause a complete paralysis of the body, while the mind is completely intact. When you can't move, but you can think, feel, hear, see and smell, you are trapped in own body. In the medical community this condition is referred to as the locked-in syndrome.

In this talk we will look at the quality of life of these people, the technology they use to communicate and their sense of belonging in the community. In recent years, Femke Nijboer has tried to empower people with locked-in syndrome by involving them in the debate on brain-computer interfaces: systems that measure your brain activity and translate certain features into commands to operate for example a neuroprosthetic device or wheelchair. Also, she organized a neurocatwalk so they could present themselves in a completely different way to an audience: strong and proud, instead of helpless.

In future work Femke Nijboer would like to empower people with locked-in syndrome with creative technology. And she would like to finish the talk with a brainstorm with the audience on how to do that.