Restoring walking abilities to spinal cord injury victims is a goal of many research teams around the globe, most focusing on repairing the damaged nerves and trying to find ways for nerve signals to bypass the injury site. Researchers at Long Beach Veterans Affairs Medical Center have reported in journal arXiv that they developed a walking gait orthosis that uses an EEG cap as the interface for controlling its motions. They hope that the technology will allow for a cheap, easy, and non-invasive option to getting paraplegics walking again.
The system was tested with an able-bodied subject that had a few hours of training using a virtual avatar, and after 10 minutes training using the real orthosis, was able to achieve perfect activation so that the device never moved when not wanted by the user.
The system uses a commercially available robotic gait orthosis (RoGO), a Nintendo Wii controller as the gyro, and to make sure the able bodied subject wasn’t cheating, an electromyogram was used to detect if muscles were helping to flex his leg.