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Posted by: Tom in: news
A couple of weeks ago I ventured up to Imperial College in London to attend some recording sessions for brain signals in preparation of #TeamImperial competing in the 2016 “Cyber Olympics”. More info here: https://www.imperial.ac.uk/engineering/news-and-events/cybathlon/
This session was prepared for by wearing a cap and having a large number of electrodes attached to it, Pablo and Cedric had to make sure each of the electrodes had a good connection with the skin (measuring the impedance) by painstakingly injecting and distributing conductive gel between the electrodes and my head. This took some patience on all our parts but was well worth it in the end.
The aim of the session was to identify signals that could be differentiated reliably from one another, we tested various “imageries” which basically translates as “imagining something” for example clenching a fist to see which ones could result in a reliably and repeatedly detectable signal. We proceeded to identify combinations of signals that could be identified independently from one another.
The results were interesting, illustrating how signals relating to different parts of the body emanate from different parts of the brain and those closer to the surface were easier to detect. I also learned how my neurology has changed since my accident resulting in some “de-nervation” and reduced signal clarity when trying to communicate with my lower legs for example.
Anyway a thoroughly interesting and impressive demonstration of the technical expertise and level of research going on at Imperial.
Many thanks to Pablo, Cedric and the rest of Team Imperial (pictures below with me making faces for dramatic effect)
Listened to some great live music over the last week, Alix Perez and @LSB at @TheVolks in Brighton playing the best of dirty drum’n’bass last Saturday night. Then somewhat towards the other end of the musical spectrum we saw Above and Beyond acoustic show at the @RoyalAlbertHall, again showing how they produce such good dance music by developing ideas while playing live instruments together before putting down the tracks in electronic form. The atmosphere in the Royal Albert Hall and performances by all the musicians exceptional.
Two friends passed away recently, both loved dearly by friends and family. Toby Mole, Smiley and witty, a friend from the North Oxford community. Jose Barretta, cyclist and marathon runner, husband and tetraplegic, succeeded in a number of struggles post injury and was a great inspiration to those around him.
Thoughts go to Guy, Jess, Peter, Alegra, George, Jose’s wife and family.
Another great day with friends in our house, great company. we are lucky
On another note the #BoseSoundTouch 10 is probably the best electronic purchase I’ve made in the last 5 years. have always been impressed with the quality of the Bose products, having had a Bose Wave I was already hooked.
I had been looking for a wireless speaker that is small enough to be portable and works well with my situation at home, I previously had some cheap Bluetooth audio transmitters and receivers which occasionally cut out due to Bluetooth interference in my room.
After reading around and trying a Sonos device (and being very disappointed with the Limited features and mediocre sound quality), I am so pleased I tried this. integration with Spotify app, Internet streaming, Bluetooth and line-in make it an extremely flexible device with an incredible quality of sound. so nice to have good Fidelity music, can hear every instrument. although this sounds like a pitch it’s not, I’m genuinely that pleased
really enjoyed the “wonder.land” play at the national cowritten by damon albarn from Blur, who also did the music.
thoroughly enjoyable trips to Dumfries, Scotland and Basildon Park near Reading over the last few weeks
film suggestion: “Contact” – based on the novel by the incredible, late, Carl Sagan
Posted by: Tom in: news
Brilliant to see rudimental on top form in Birmingham yesterday, met with the talented #WillHeard who is currently touring with them and soon to release new solo material.
been really enjoying listening to Stefan Obermaier and his clever fusion of classical and electro. going to look out for live shows of his over the summer
looking forward to another few good music festivals this summer
love the old school Jungle tributes from rudimental yesterday
“about time” directed by Richard Curtis
the most moving and beautiful film I have watched in a long time
Posted by: Tom in: news
spent a week down in Devon trying to work remotely, car broke down (damaged camshaft) and so was without the van for the week. still managed to have a nice time despite dealing with insurance/garage/weather. Just so nice being by the sea and seeing Mandy (Ellen ‘s mum). we were in Torcross, a beautiful little village. added a couple of photos to the Flickr photo stream.
warm wishes in cold weather x
Posted by: Tom in: news
Enjoyed reading this blog post by the truly amazing founder of the truly amazing charity the backup trust:
Excited to be a pilot for London’s Imperial College at the 2016 Cybathlon:
Great sermon by our friend Elizabeth regarding my reading at her and my friend Ruben’s wedding:
A busy but relaxing festive period has allowed time to reflect on the year gone and what is to come. Overall we are well, both wrapped up in demanding careers and vibrant social lives.
I’m mostly keeping on top of health issues and trying to keep track of assistive technology improvements as well as productivity levels at work. Working with a widely geographically distributed team is interesting and I’m looking forward to a work trip to Colorado in May.
We’ve spent lovely times with Oliver, Rin and new baby Sophia who are over from Thailand for the Christmas break, we hope to visit them around Easter if we can organize ourselves. Having the whole family over during the holidays has been really special, the warmth around the limes has been spectacular.
must watch feelgood and rewarding film:
new photos on Flickr
fun and frolicking over the summer festivals mainly…
and meeting Raymond Blanc, what a legend!
A response to a question about power wheelchair control using the head.
I’ve got a permobil M400 (mid- wheel drive), and a Permobil head array control.
My main qualm with head arrays is that it’s discreet/switch–based rather than continuous/proportional control. This results in relatively jerky steering and a less-than-intuitive driving experience.
The high-end power wheelchair market has opened up a lot over the last 5 years, companies like quantum, etac and permobil are no longer the only suppliers. I’ve noticed that my wheelchair service is now supplying a pretty decent power chair for people that want it and I know there are some German and Swiss companies looking to get in to the UK market with really decent products.
The thing that really excites me is the GyroSet and I just got my hands on one (metaphorically) to test which I’m using to control the laptop mouse pointer, it is manufactured and sold by Now technologies: http://nowtech.hu/
They now have production wheelchair controls which allows you to control the chair just from slight head movements, check out some of the demo videos on the website.
I really like them, they seems to have dedicated a lot of their time in making something that “just works” and can be configured to be controlled by the slightest of movement (head or fingers, with different devices). They have had to overcome some challenges getting into the UK market but have proven themselves to be very resourceful, developing interfaces to common wheelchair control systems.
If I was buying a chair now I would seriously consider getting one with a proportional control system for better driving experience, if you are a new wheelchair user, it’s probably the thing that will most affect your standard of living going forward. As I said I’m using one of the headsets for mouse control and its astounding. Looking forward to getting one installed to control the chair.
Here is a short list of benefits compared to what I’ve tried previously (EyeGaze/head pointer/camera mouse/integramouse):
– zero config, “just works”
– improved accuracy
– flexibility and portability, can drive around my chair, come back to the computer and carry on, can use at home work and in the car with no reconfiguration
– works outside, unlike infrared dependent solutions, is not affected by ambient light sources (e.g. sun)
Although it sounds a bit like a pitch, I’m not affiliated with the company I’m just genuinely excited by finding a functional and practical solution for proportional wheelchair control after 8 years.
As far as I know it’s a small team but the main contact is Mark: Mark Istvan firstname.lastname@example.org. He is a lovely bloke who will come and give demos on request, they have chairs for testing in Stoke Mandeville. I think Ruth Peachment is in charge of them.
Getting back to wheelchairs, warranty is important, if I was buying again now I think I’d about going with a wheelchair service chair just because warranty is covered by them. Running out of warranty on a private purchase can get expensive.