Heide Pfuetzner is a paralyzed woman who paints through the power of her mind. Her thoughts are translated into visual arts by a brain-computer interface system developed by g.tec, the same Austrian company that created IntendiX, probably the most sophisticated brain-speller system currently available.
Heide Pfuetzner, a former teacher from Leipzig, Germany, mother of four, was diagnosed with ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) in 2007. Her life changed completely. Once an active person, interested in arts, she had even tried painting before her illness. Today she can only communicate with her eyes and with the help of a computer.
Thanks to Austrian g.tech and their latest development, the IntendiX PAINTING, since 2012 Mrs Pfutzner has been able to paint again using an EEG cap and two monitors. The system reads Mrs Pfutzner’s brainwaves to take control of a palette of colours, shapes and brushes to produce digital artworks. The device detects changes in patterns of her brainwaves, allowing them to select software options and to move a cursor around a screen.
“For the first time, this project gives me the opportunity to show the world that the ALS has not been the end of my life.” said Mrs Pfutzner, whose dream is to exhibit her digital brainpaintings for the first time.
According to g.tec’s website the goal of IntendiX PAINTING is to allow disabled or healthy people to draw without using muscle activity, making it entertaining and easy.
”At the moment, the interface works like simple paint software where you have to select options using your thoughts,” said to the The Telegraph Dr Christoph Guger, who led the team developing the system at g.tec.
The scientists at g.tech are now working with Japanese researchers on a brain implant technology that could be used in the future to make communication easier, although patients would be required to undergo surgery.
Mrs Pfutzner has used the BCI painting system to create a collection of abstract colourful shapes and patterns, which she sells online. You can support her work on: http://www.startnext.de/en/mein-hirn-brennt