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Young Bosnian Dalibor Dumic Designs Brain-Controlled Wheelchair

A young IT student from Bihac – who has a serious impediment himself –  is developing an innovative project to construct a brain-controlled wheelchair. 

Despite suffering a serious impediment – almost total deafness – Dalibor Dumic, a young engineer from Bihac and one of the most promising IT students in Bosnia, is developing an ambitious project to design a brain-controlled wheelchair.

Dumic, 22, a student at the Burch University in Sarajevo, told BIRN that the project is part of his final graduation project.

SARAJEVO GRILL TORONTO

“I have seen similar projects about controlling robotic hands and I want to implement this concept in a wheelchair, which could be useful for fully immobile people,” he explained.

The project consists of three key components: a sensor to detect neural activity, software, and hardware which is necessary for controlling the wheelchair.

The sensor would be placed on the scalp and scan neural activity from the brain, Dumic explained. Neural activity would then be amplified and sent to the software, installed on a Windows 10 tablet.

The software would get the data from the sensor, process them through an algorithm and give the final commands to the hardware, embedded in the wheelchair.

“The idea is not about reading people’s mind, it’s more about reading their neural activity and reacting to changes of parameters of this signal,” Dumic said, noting that the project “should be ready by the end of the year.

“My wish is to make it simple and affordable, so it could be helpful, especially for people here in Bosnia,” he stressed.

Although Bosnia in recent years has experienced a boom in the IT sector, Dumic, who is now also part of the Microsoft Student Partners – a worldwide program designed by Microsoft to sponsor students majoring in disciplines related to technology – noted that developing his skills in his home country was a hard task.

“Developing my abilities was absolutely not easy,” he pointed out.

Dalibor Dumic. Photo: Facebook.

Part of the problem is the fact that since his birth, Dumic has suffered an almost total loss of hearing, which was a major obstacle in Bosnia’s educational system.

“People here tend to turn a blind eye to these kinds of issues,” he noted.

“To be able to understand, I need somebody to speak clearly, slowly, and without yelling … most often, my problem with people who found out about my problem, was that they would start yelling, thinking I would hear them better, instead of talking more clearly. Some of my peers would even mock me by doing just that – speaking too loudly,” he recalled.

Even today, “it’s also very hard to follow what professors are saying,” he added.

However, although many young persons are leaving Bosnia to find jobs abroad, Dumic told BIRN that he sees his future in his home country.

“I want to become an innovative and helpful part of our community,” he said, blaming the environment in Bosnia for being “too pessimistic.

” People here are usually pessimistic … and this is why this country can’t improve … a lot of good things happened recently but most people can’t see it because pessimistic news dominate, destroying people’s inspiration,” he concluded.

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