Tinkertron LLC is a product design company providing electronic design services.
The EMG Switch was created by Dinal Andreasen, an electrical engineer from the Georgia Institute of Technology. While working on a research project Mr. Andreasen visited an ALS patient and observed the challenge of setting up a mechanical switch at the bedside enabling activation of a simple caregiver alert switch. If the bed moved even slightly the position of the switch changed and activation of the switch was difficult. A better solution was needed. His goal was to create a simple-to-use, portable switch activated by the same electrical signals that activate muscle. Such a device could then be used to control assistive technologies such as power wheelchairs and computers.
Development on a stand alone EMG Switch started in 2003, and the first working prototype was completed in 2004. The development team worked closely with people using the device, and used their input extensively in honing the features of the device to what it is today.
Electromyographic or EMG signals are the tiny electrical nerve impulses that all muscles give off during movement, and these signals can easily be detected on the surface of the skin. This means that our devices did not detect actual movement of the muscles, and did not rely on interpreting directional movement; rather, it detected the electrical impulses given off by the muscles, and if there was enough electrical activity detected to reach a specific threshold, it would “throw the switch” on and off (view videos).
The mission of Tinkertron LLC is development of technology allowing people with limited movement to control external devices and systems.
Mr. Andreasen setup Tinkertron LLC as a limited liability corporation in September 2005. Our company has fabricated three generations of the EMG Switch a specialized electronic device which senses tiny signals on the surface of the skin. The information contained in the small biopotential signals is used to develop an activation command based on volitional intentions. The device has been tested and evaluated in a user population which includes people with ALS, spinal cord injury, and muscular dystrophy.
The EMG Switch is “battle-tested” on the field by paralyzed persons, and we learned a lot about what our users (read their testimonials) really need and want. We are confident in what the EMG Switch can do, and we hope you will test it out with a no obligation trial to see if it works for you.