The ability to communicate or move around independently could soon be as simple as breathing for individuals with even the most severe disabilities.

A new device is showing promise by allowing users to command a wheelchair or a writing device through a series of controlled breaths from the nose, researchers report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

While there are already devices available allowing those with disabilities to control actions through a traditional breathing tube or the tongue, this development is promising for those experiencing a range of more severe physical limitations from quadriplegia to locked-in syndrome, researchers say.

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The device monitors breaths from the nose and responds to specific patterns. For example, two brief sniffs will command a wheelchair to move forward, while two exhales will take you in reverse.

So far 15 people with disabilities have been able to use the device successfully and the researchers behind the product are looking to make it commercially available, reports the Los Angeles Times. To read more click here.