Paralyzed people are said to be “locked in” because they can move nothing. They are getting unlocked if they can still sniff, which anyone can do if they can breathe. If they can’t breathe, it doesn’t matter.

A woman who had been locked in for seven months was recently able to write a letter to her family, directing a computer through a series of sniff signals. Another was able to control her wheel chair.Breathing in through her nose twice moves it forward, breathing out  twice moves it back. An outward sniff followed by an inward turns it right, and so on.

The research, which is going on at the Weizmann Institute in Israel, may someday change video gaming. Sniffing is a lot faster than using a mouse. Read more at the Economist magazine, which reported this breakthrough in the December 12th issue.

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