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Cool MS News: Students Build Voice-Recognition Device for Disabled

Posted on: February 3rd, 2014 by Kristin Zimmermann
Category: Health News, Inspiration & Motivation, Managing MS, MS News, MS Silver Linings, Stories of Hope

hands holding a card bearing the word "HOPE"Reading about multiple sclerosis (MS) news is often pretty depressing. But once in a while I come across a beautiful, inspiring story that makes me feel hopeful and incredibly impressed by humanity.

I just read this awesome article about two MIT students who used a small computer and only $100 worth of parts to build a voice-recognition device for a retired physics professor, Michael Ogg. Michael has primary-progressive MS and is a quadriplegic as a result of the disease. The device, which draws power from the wheelchair it’s attached to, enables someone to use their voice to change the settings on the chair or call for help when alone. The voice-recognition device could be life-changing — and saving — for disabled folks who cannot necessarily pick up a phone or press a button to get help.

The admirable inventors, Vineel Chakradhar and Alex Springer, both sophomores, spent several weeks figuring out the logistics and then built the device in a little over a month. About Mr. Ogg, Vineel said, “Michael’s been such a great friend, and he’s been a wonderful mentor as well. He is a third member of the team.” He also said they want to be able to help a lot of people.

It’s stories like this that remind me of the amazing potential we all hold to truly change the world for little more than $100 and a few week’s time. I hope to hear more about these guys in the future — and I bet I will.

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