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Brainwave breakthrough

Innovative tech-based research opens up a world of possibilities for kids

Soparlo insetTwo years ago, living with cerebral palsy and being non-verbal severely limited John's ability to show people who he was. Today, the 8-year-old is the youngest person ever to benefit from new Brain Computer Interface (BCI) technology, enabling him to share his personality and creativity with the world. 

Thanks to generous people like you, the Alberta Children’s Hospital has launched an innovative program of research in BCI. It has the potential to provide new ways for children with limited movement and speech to express themselves, interact with their environment, and gain independence. Through a sophisticated headset, the technology uses changes in children’s thought patterns to transmit signals that control devices such as computers, phones, TV remotes and more.  

Born with spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy, John has very little control over his body’s movements. However, like many children with the same condition, John is cognitively very aware.

“BCI has given him the ability to control his environment like never before,” says mom, Karly. “It’s been remarkable to see him light up when he can move a remote-controlled car or use the computer.”

One of John’s favorite BCI activities is painting. Using the power of his brain, John manipulates a robotic ball to roll through a palette of paint to produce colourful works of art. His creations have garnered attention from as far away as the United Kingdom!  

“We are so grateful that the community has made this ground-breaking BCI research possible at the Alberta Children’s Hospital.” Kurt, John's dad

“BCI is a game changer for our son,” says John’s dad, Kurt. “It’s wonderful to see him find his area of interest. Some kids play sports. Others do music or drama. John can paint and it’s amazing! We are so grateful that the community has made this ground-breaking BCI research possible at the Alberta Children’s Hospital.” 

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Lace up and help fund more
life-changing discoveries

Sign up today for the Million Reasons Run, a virtual running challenge throughout the month of May in support of pediatric health research across Canada. It’s fun and it’s free. Choose your distance, your fundraising goals, and go for it! Donations in southern Alberta will help fund innovation and discoveries like BCI at the Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute. 

    There are always GREAT events going on in support of the Alberta Children's Hospital!                                                  

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