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Fingertip tracing device helps stimulate the brain

July 2, 2014
by Richard R. Rogoski
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Similar to the way Braille works to stimulate the brains of those who are visually impaired, a new textured fingertip tracing device can stimulate the brains of those with cognitive impairments.

Las Vegas-based Brainpaths LLC has developed a device with recessed and protruding textures that interact with a person's fingertips to stimulate the brain's cortex.

These textured, plastic surfaces mounted on a hand-held board indent into each fingertip to access 3,000 under-the-skin mechanoreceptors in each finger, notes a company press release. This tactile stimulation of the fingertip results in a direct stimulation of the brain.

The concept for the device goes back to 1997 when researchers discovered brain plasticity, the ability of the brain to repair itself. Based on those findings and the ability of Braille to stimulate the brain, Patricia Ahleen Derrick invented a device that incorporates labyrinths and maze paths to essentially rewire the brain.

The device, which is registered with the FDA as a medical device, also can be used to improve fine motor skills and dexterity in the fingers and hand for residents recovering from stroke or brain trauma.

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