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September 4, 2015 11:30 am

Laser Technology Lets Handicapped Israelis Make Music With Their Bodies

avatar by JNS.org

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Former journalists Rika Bider (pictured), 52, suffers from multiple sclerosis and uses the music room of the Grabski Rehabilitation Center in northern Israel. Photo: Michel Dot Com via Israel Hayom.

Former journalists Rika Bider (pictured), 52, suffers from multiple sclerosis and uses the music room of the Grabski Rehabilitation Center in northern Israel. Photo: Michel Dot Com via Israel Hayom.

JNS.org An Israeli initiative could significantly improve the quality of life of patients suffering from multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, and other untreatable diseases. The Grabski Rehabilitation Center in Migdal Haemek in northern Israel has decided to spread joy through a music room that allows its 40 residents—some of whom are wheelchair bound and unable to move their arms or legs—to play different musical instruments.

Cameras and laser sensors, connected to computers and screens, were installed throughout the room. By “cutting” the laser beam with their hands, or via any other bodily movement captured by the camera, the patients can control sounds and create a computerized melody.

The music room was inaugurated in a ceremony on Thursday. One resident whose life has been improved by the room is Yoav Aharoni, 48. With a special crane, caretakers at the facility move Aharoni from his bed to his wheelchair. In the music room, he especially loves singing along to Israeli singer Shlomo Artzi’s song “Melech Haolam” (King of the World).

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Rika Bider, 52, a former journalist, suffers from multiple sclerosis and is treated at the facility.

“I’ve always loved music,” she says, “and I even traveled to see concerts in England. Ever since the disease spread throughout my body I’ve been handicapped, and now, all of a sudden, not only can I listen to music, but I can also create music and dance in my wheelchair to the sounds of the music I create.”

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