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Obama calls Ben-Gurion U. brain research a 'great idea'

JERUSALEM, March 21, 2013 -- President Obama today gave accolades to researchers from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) who presented two brain-focused technologies at the Israel Museum technology showcase as part of his Israel trip.

Accompanied by Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Obama saw brain activation technology by ElMindA, which he called "a great idea."

The company, which has worked with the Pittsburgh Steelers on preventing concussions, is a start-up company founded by Prof. Amir Geva of BGU's Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

BNA measures brain state and brain changes and can potentially be applied to assess a wide spectrum of neurological, psychiatric and physical conditions, including concussions, sports injuries, and central nervous system-related diseases, like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. In addition, the technology serves as a valuable tool in the development of treatments for these diseases, in rehabilitation from sports injuries, and in evaluating when physical activity can be resumed. BNA is currently being used with leading partners in the United States.

One of the research showcase highlights was MinDestkop, a hands-free, thought-controlled computer developed by three BGU graduate students. To demonstrate, a student "patient" wore a cap with 14 EEG connect points that sense brain activity. A second student explained that as the patient thought of different items -- a flower, music or an automobile -- the patient could manipulate the cursor to specific colors on a computer screen that controlled what the patient wanted to do.

According to the Newsweek/Daily Beast, Obama said to Netanyahu of the MinDesktop inventors, "These guys have deeper thoughts probably than the two of us." The computer is being designed to help disabled people communicate with just their thoughts.

"Today, we were stars, and it is so incredibly gratifying to be able to present two examples of the cutting-edge technology being developed and commercialized by BGU," says Doron Krakow, executive vice president, American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev based in New York City. "We are proud of the two groups from ElmindA and MinDesktop who are fulfilling Ben-Gurion University's mission to develop technologies that are helping people in Israel, in the United States and around the world."


Contact: Andrew Lavin
American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

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