Call us cynical, but it’s a sad world when a researcher has to sex up his work by linking it to ‘cool’ things like iPods before it gets any press attention.

Osaka University’s Kazuhiro Taniguchi has done precisely that, presumably to get some coverage of his new electronic control mechanism that, like his previous teeth-clenching device, is clearly intended for use by paralysed people.

Disability aid

We’re told the blink-based system is all about controlling an iPod hands-free - blink once with both eyes to start playing; use just the right eye to skip forward. But the real applications are far more interesting.

People locked into full-body paralysis would almost certainly get a lot more out of such a technique for controlling wheelchairs, computers and even something as mundane as a TV set.

Sadly, that’s not very appealing news to the mainstream, so the innovative tech gets hung on a peg next to that underpowered white music player and its owner’s skateboard and MacBook.