It's true, by attaching sensors to detect pressure changes in nasal tubes, those with severe disabilities or locked-in syndrome are being given the chance to communicate, control a wheelchair, or even conduct internet searches.

The set-up is less expensive than current eye-tracking systems, and so far, pretty effective. A test on two out of the three people with locked-in syndrome (where a patient is aware but unable to move or communicate due to the paralysis of voluntary muscles) found they were able to use this method to write letters, and after being trained, all 11 quadriplegics being tested were able to write emails and surf the internet.


Apparently, control over sniffing is generally "well spared" after an injury, but I can't help but recall the hilarious outcome of a similar blinking system devised in an episode of the short lived show Testees... [New Scientist]