The FCC has kindly allocated a chunk of radio spectrum in the 413-457 megahertz range specifically for use by wireless devices that would relay nervous signals to paralyzed limbs.
According to Bloomberg, The Alfred Mann Foundation is planning on beginning trials of technology utilizing this band to help people with head and neck cancer who have difficulty swallowing and brain injury patients with arm paralysis.
From FCC’s press statement:
Medical Micropower Networks (MMNs) are ultra-low power wideband networks consisting of multiple transmitters implanted in the body that use electric currents to activate and monitor nerves and muscles.
As the FCC also recognized in the 2010 National Broadband Plan, wireless technology can improve the quality of life for individuals and lower the cost of health care. Today’s action advances this broadband health care agenda.
The FCC initiated this proceeding in response to a petition from the Alfred Mann Foundation, which has built prototype MMN systems and conducted extensive testing that demonstrates that this new medical technology can reliably operate in shared spectrum to deliver vital therapies. The action the FCC takes today will allow devices such as those being tested by Alfred Mann to proceed on the path to patient use as well as inspire researchers to begin work on the next generation of implanted medical radio networks.
More at Bloomberg: Medical Devices That Help Paralyzed Move Will Get Radio Spectrum