MK Prosopsis

Impulse Switch


Imagine a computer control device that responds to the slightest of movements. Now remove the wires. Now integrate this product with the computer and software you already own. Now make it light and stylish enough to wear every day, anywhere. Now you have Impulse.

Impulse is an EMG (Electromyography) sensing electrode that senses tiny muscle contractions. Using its patented technology, the Impulse detects and wirelessly transmits the EMG signal to a computer using Bluetooth wireless technology. (A Bluetooth receiver is included.) Impulse's software then processes the activity as a traditional switch "click". Pairing the Impulse with popular accessibility programs such as EZ-Keys allows users to fully control their computer with the smallest of muscle activity.

How Impulse Works

The Impulse sensor

The Impulse sensor is an EMG (Electromyography) sensing electrode that senses EMG activity, which is made up of tiny electrical potentials that are produced by muscles and the nervous system when muscle contractions occurs. Using its patented ProActive technology, the Impulse sensor amplifies, digitises and transmits the EMG signal at the electrode site. Specialised software runs on a Microsoft Windows compatible computer that wirelessly receives the signal. When volitional muscle control is detected, a virtual switch “hit” is passed to special software (such as EZ-Keys) allowing users to control their computer. The Impulse can also function as an alarm that alerts caregivers to the needs of the user.

More Specifically…

The Impulse sensor snaps onto a disposable electrode that adheres to the skin. The electrodes are small pads with a sticky side which allow the sensor to receive and transmit muscle activity. The computer receives this information, and in conjunction with communication software such as EZ-Keys and Eye Response, enables users to control their computer – effectively replacing the keyboard and mouse. This allows paralysed users to remain functional, accomplishing task such as emailing, research, online investing, shopping, and more.

The Bluetooth connection

Impulse uses Bluetooth wireless technology to send a reliable signal to the computer without any need to “point” the device. Impulse ships with a small, USB Bluetooth adapter, easily turning your current computer into a machine that Impulse can wirelessly control.

The Impulse software

The software is built using Visual Studio 2005 and runs on the .Net 2.0 Framework. Using these technologies the Impulse sensor is able to deliver virtual switch closures with an average delay of less than 25 milliseconds.

Product Features:

  • Allows user to completely control their computer using any muscle with voluntary control when used in conjunction with augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) systems.
  • Wireless connectivity allows your caregivers to attend to your needs without being hampered by wires or disturbing switch alignment.
  • Wireless connectivity allows you to remain connected to the computer even while being transported short distances (such as to the bathroom).
  • Bluetooth Class II connectivity up to 10 M (30 feet)!
  • No wires means the Impulse looks better cosmetically than many other similar switches available today.
  • Wireless Active Electrode design gives Impulse ultra clean EMG signals and greatly reduces interference.
  • Incredibly fast response time (<30 ms).
  • Integrated with major Speech Generation System Providers.

Frequently Asked Questions

1) How can I ensure a good skin-to-disposable electrode connection?
There are several key points to remember for a good connection: Fresh Electrodes - Never try to re-use an electrode. Disposable electrodes are designed for one-time use and may be worn as long as comfortable. Site Preparation –especially important for usesr who might have weak EMG. The area must be cleaned and lightly rubbed with an alcohol swab before placing the electrode. Any area more than slightly hairy should be shaved first. This not only will help ensure a good connection but also avoids ripping out hairs when the electrode is removed. Often what LOOKS like a good connection can actually be a bad connection if the site is not prepped correctly. After a short time with the device you should be able to look at the signal and determine if there is a problem with the connection. When there is a good connection and the user is not contracting and the raw EMG signal should be almost flat lined. Stabilization - Connections can stabilize with time. An initially bad connection will often stabilize after a while. This fluctuation can be mitigated by carefully preparing the site as described above.

2) Can I use the same electrode on different people?
No. The electrodes are designed for one-time use. Trying to re-use an electrode will likely result in a bad skin-to-electrode contact.

3) How often to the disposable electrodes need to be replaced?
Once the electrode is attached to the user, it can be used as long as the patient feels like wearing it. Usually one electrode per day is used.

4) Why does my Impulse sensor blink red and blue rapidly when I try to turn it on?
You have accidentally placed your Impulse into pairing mode. When the Impulse switch is Off, holding the connection button down for 3 seconds turns the switch on. Holding the connection button down for 8 seconds (an additional 5 seconds past the on condition) put the switch into pairing mode, signified by the blinking red and blue lights. To exit pairing mode, simply turn the switch off (hold connection button for at least 3 seconds) to exit pairing mode and start again.

5) Can I use the Impulse while the sensor is plugged in/charging?
No. Although the sensor will still transmit while plugged in, the interference from the power supply will overwhelm the EMG signal. Please do not try to use while plugged in.