TechKnow explores how the latest scientific discoveries around the globe are changing our lives.

I didn't fully realise the importance and value of hearing your own words and your own voice. Voice banking is one of the first things I recommend to those newly diagnosed.

OJ Brigance, ALS patient

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig's disease, is an incurable neurological disorder. It is a condition that degenerates the muscles in the body, including those in the vocal chords. ALS leaves patients paralysed and unable to speak, with only the eyes unaffected.

But 'eye tracker' technology enables patients to communicate using iPad-like screens that can be programmed with common words and phrases, operated by a key board.

Contributor Dr Shini Somara goes to Boston to meet the inventor of 'voice message banking' which allows sufferers to communicate using their own voices even after they have lost the ability to speak.

We also look at a new search-and-rescue device, created by NASA and the US department of homeland security, that can detect the heartbeats of people buried under collapsed buildings. Lindsey Moran gets to hide under rubble in order to test out this new device.

Also this week, Rachelle Oldmixon meets researchers at the Bodega Bay Marine institute at the University of California, Davis. They discuss their latest findings as they work to monitor fluctuating levels of acidification in the bay and develop strategies for the survival of oysters.

TechKnow can be seen each week at the following times GMT: Friday: 1930; Saturday: 1430; Sunday: 0430; Monday: 1630.

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Source: Al Jazeera