There’s been plenty of buzz about FES (Functional Electrical Stimulation) lately. The technology uses tiny pulses of energy to activate muscles that cannot be controlled properly by the brain. The Cleveland Clinic has a center dedicated to this technology. Here’s a nice little anecdote of its potential success:from cbsnews.com:
“I basically … just wanted to close my eyes and not wake up again,” remembers Annette Coker, who was paralyzed in a car accident. It was the lowest point of Annette’s life; the woman who once trained dogs to assist the disabled would now be relying on one herself.
…With the touch of a button, Annette turns on a device much like a pacemaker that’s implanted in her chest.
“This is a multi-channel implantable device,” Peckham explains. “Electrodes are implanted in the body. So when the implant is turned on, it electrically stimulates the nerves in order to cause the muscles to move in motions, for example, to open and close the hands. That’s under the voluntary control of the patient.”
“I had these two implanted electrodes here. And I do a little twitch with my muscle in here. And that turns it on or off,” says Annette. “I’ve always compared it to being like a toddler learning how to, you know, walk, write, eat.”
..”I can brush my hair, put some makeup on. Just the little things that we forget that we do,” she says.